Ancient protein analysis in archaeology

Sci Adv. 2021 Jan 15;7(3):eabb9314. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abb9314. Print 2021 Jan.


The analysis of ancient proteins from paleontological, archeological, and historic materials is revealing insights into past subsistence practices, patterns of health and disease, evolution and phylogeny, and past environments. This review tracks the development of this field, discusses some of the major methodological strategies used, and synthesizes recent developments in archeological applications of ancient protein analysis. Moreover, this review highlights some of the challenges faced by the field and potential future directions, arguing that the development of minimally invasive or nondestructive techniques, strategies for protein authentication, and the integration of ancient protein analysis with other biomolecular techniques are important research strategies as this field grows.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't