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Dr. Erin Thornton Dept. of Anthropology - Stable Isotope Lab


The WSU Dept. of Anthropology Stable Isotope Lab provides training and research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students broadly interested in the application of stable isotope analysis to environmental archaeology. Through this lab, and other WSU facilities, Dr. Thornton and her students  combine zooarchaeological, bioarchaeological, isotopic, and genetic (ancient DNA) analyses to address socio-economic questions related to subsistence, animal domestication, political economy and exchange, and environmental questions regarding human impacts on and responses to deforestation, climate, and changing wildlife populations.

Students interested in joining the lab, or those interested in learning more about our research should see the following links on the left hand side of the page:


Our lab provides stable isotope preparation and analysis of archaeological and modern specimens including bones, teeth, shells, plants, hair/fur, dung, and skin. In collaboration with the WSU Stable Isotope Core (Director: Dr. Dave Evans) and Radiogenic Isotope and Geochronology Laboratory (Director: Dr. Jeff Vervoort), we are able to provide the following stable isotope analyses to both WSU and non-WSU researchers:

  • carbon (δ13C)
  • nitrogen (δ15N)
  • sulfur (δ34S)
  • oxygen (δ18O)
  • strontium (87Sr/86Sr)

We very much welcome new collaborations, so please contact Dr. Erin Thornton ( to learn more about our services and current prices. Please note that our lab primarily focuses on student training and formal academic collabortions. Prices are adjusted to reflect the level collaboration, and often include funds to cover student research assistants.