Stable isotope analysis can provide unique information on an individual’s provenance, diet, and geographical origins.
Particular isotopes can be analysed in a variety of human body tissues in order to establish geographical location and dietary composition from an individual’s infancy, adolescence, and adulthood through to their more recent life history, diet, and geography before death. It can also be a powerful tool when the provenance and comparison of evidence types (e.g. explosives, drugs, trace evidence) is required within a criminal investigation.
Radiocarbon dating can be particularly useful in establishing the age of a sample rich in carbon, for example: bone, hair, blood residue, textiles and fabrics, wood, charcoal, plant fibres, and pollen. It is most frequently used to determine whether human remains or items of evidence are of archaeological or forensic significance.