Article Title

Bioarchaeological Sampling Strategies: Reflection on First Sampling Experience at the Templo Mayor Museum in Mexico City


Given that sampling strategies and protocols in bioarchaeology are rarely discussed in the literature, this paper is an attempt at reflecting upon the skeletal sampling process (e.g., preparation period, development of strategies and protocols, decision-making process, collaboration with those involved) as well as provide some considerations that may be useful to other junior researchers carrying out their sampling within the realm of bioarchaeology (also may be applicable to other research fields that engage in sampling specimens from museum collections). I provide the considerations about human bone and teeth as it pertains to stable isotope analysis from the literature and then move to discuss my sampling process experience: the preparation period, the sampling process, and the sampling map I developed as an initial guide in the field. Finally, I discuss the main considerations I found helpful in the field which overall involve: 1) Familiarity with the skeletal collections; 2) Constant communication and participant collaboration with those involved in the process; 3) Establishing a feasible sampling protocol well-founded on research questions and biochemical analysis planned as a guide in the field but flexible and open to changes; 4) Handling administrative and logistical aspects of the process well in advance of the sampling visit, and 5) Continual awareness that while as researchers we value skeletal collections in a scientific manner, these also may have other kind of value to others so we must treat these collections with outmost respect at all times (i.e., when discussing, sampling, analyzing, interpreting, and disseminating our research).

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