Accessibility statement

Proteomics and ZooMS

Sarah holding up parchment

Dr Sam Presslee
01904 326471
ZooMS Technician

BioArCh, Environment Building
Wentworth Way, York
YO10 5DD, UK

Ancient proteomics involves the extraction and analysis of proteins from archaeological remains to contribute to our understanding of the past. Applications of ancient protein analysis are diverse, including the study of past foods and diets, disease process and studies of protein diagenesis and modification. The range of samples and substrates that can be analysed is similarly broad, including human and animal bone, dentine and enamel, eggshell, dental calculus, preserved food remains, ceramic residues, artworks, parchments and textiles.

Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS) is a rapid, low-cost analytical technique which uses collagen or other proteins preserved in archaeological and historic artefacts and cultural heritage to identify the species from which they derive. Typically, this analysis is applied to fragmented, morphologically undiagnostic bone fragments, but is also applied to a range of other archaeological and material culture, including parchments, ivory, eggshell, comb artefacts and leather objects. 

We offer ZooMS analysis for external academics and commercial groups. If you are interested in ZooMS analysis and require a quote for analysis please contact Sam Presslee (details above) in the first instance and fill in a ZooMS Request Form with information about your request. 

Published ZooMS Markers

We have compiled a spreadsheet of published ZooMS markers of differnet taxa. This is a living document and will continute to be updated and you are welcome to comment on it. We hope that this is a useful resource for identifying which taxa have already been studied using ZooMS, finding original publications on these taxa, and a resource for ZooMS researchers. 

You can access this open Google Sheet by clicking here. Please contact Sam Presslee (contact details above) if you encountered any issues with accessing this spreadsheet. 

Facilities, Equipment and Instrumentation 

  • A dedicated laboratory clean-room for ancient protein extractions
  • An Opentrons pipetting robot for increased throughput for ZooMS analysis
  • BioArCh has strong links with the Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry, through which it has access to MALDI and Orbitrap Fusion mass spectrometers, as well as a range of protein identification software, including Mascot