Biosphere isotope domains (Great Britain)

BGS Datasets

Key information

The dataset is represented by 1 km hexagon cells
Great Britain
Excel data, GIS polygon data (ESRI), and online map viewer.

Free grid data available under the Open Government Licence. Please acknowledge the material.

Regional-level to National-level use

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Our free data is available under the Open Government Licence. Please acknowledge reproduced BGS materials.

Online map viewerExcel dataGIS data
Supporting documents

The biosphere isotope domains (Great Britain) data comprises analysis and location-specific information for strontium, oxygen and sulphur isotopic variation for Great Britain.

Biosphere Isotope Domains GB data map
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Biosphere isotope domains (Great Britain) data map. BGS © UKRI – Contains OS data © Crown copyright 2020.

The dataset consists of three components:

  • Excel data containing sample information (strontium, oxygen (groundwater), oxygen (tooth enamel) and sulphur)
  • GIS dataset showing the distribution of four domains across Britain (strontium, oxygen (groundwater), oxygen (tooth enamel) and sulphur )
  • an accompanying web portal for viewing and interrogating the GIS data

This dataset brings together:

These four layers can be interrogated to produce a distribution map of the different isotope compositions that can be found across Britain. Specifically it contains:

  • Biosphere strontium (87Sr/86Sr): strontium isotope variation derived from over 900 strontium samples, predominantly from plants and water
  • Oxygen δ18O PO4 ‰(VSMOW) (human enamel): oxygen isotope variations in tooth enamel given as the mean and 1SD of ‘local’ populations
  • Oxygen δ18O drinking water ‰ (VSMOW): oxygen isotope variations in groundwater across Great Britain
  • Sulphur δ34S ‰ (VCDT) plants: sulphur isotope variation for a number of key geological units (chalk, Jurassic clay and oolitic limestone) as well as a coastal effects (sea spray) zone

This resource is aimed at archaeologists using skeletal analysis to study the geographic origins, movements and diet of past people and populations. The data can also be used in modern studies of bird and fish migration, tracking sources of illegal importation of materials and authentication of food origins.

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