Investigation of the archeological remains using ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry

Yury Kostyukevich, Alexandra Kitova, Alexander Zherebker, Shah Rukh, Eugene Nikolaev

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    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Investigation of the archeological material at the molecular level can reveal the composition of ancient paint, balsamic material, reveal cooking recipes, etc. High-resolution mass spectrometry is a powerful technique with underestimated potential for archeology. Here, we present the investigation of the 3000-year-old archeological remains, identified as parts of internal organs of an Egyptian mummy, using high-resolution Orbitrap mass spectrometry. We observed a diverse number of oxidized classes of compounds: O, O2, O3, O4, O5, N, NO, NO2, NO3, NO4, NO5, N2O, N2O2. Such chemical composition is unusual and we never observed it in our previous studies of petroleum, humic substances, products of wood pyrolysis or other natural complex mixtures. It is possible that such compounds are formed via biodegradation of lipids and other organic material used for funeral rites. We did not observe evidence of the presence of mineral bitumen, although there are many historical records of the use of mineral bitumen for mummification.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)391-396
    Number of pages6
    JournalEuropean Journal of Mass Spectrometry
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


    • archeology
    • electrospray
    • high resolution
    • Mass spectrometry
    • remains


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