FT-Raman spectroscopy of avian mummified tissue of archaeological relevance

There are frequent reports of mummified seals in the cold deserts of Antarctica. However, a mummified penguin found over 100 miles from the coast and at an altitude of 600 m is most unusual. The non-intrusive FT laser Raman spectra of untreated mummified tissues from this bird are presented; the specimen has three distinct types of tissue clearly identifiable in a limb, namely the bone, claw and skin, along with feathers from the carcass. The unusually fine preservation of these materials in an Antarctic cold desert climate means that bacterial degradation has been arrested and affords an opportunity to compare the molecular deterioration of the keratotic or collagenic components of the avian ice-mummified tissue with those from the skin of human ice-mummies.


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Authors: Edwards, H. G. M., Farwell, D. W., Wynn-Williams, D. D.

1 January, 1999
Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy / 55
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