Protein Residue Analysis

Atlatl offers protein residue analysis to test for proteins produced by animals which are often left on tools used to process those animals or the soils upon which they were processed or killed. This analysis may be useful in interpreting diet, processing methods, site type, tool function, etc. The function of certain tools, particularly when multiple proteins are present, the types of animals processed at the site, and how proteins relate to the faunal assemblage are common applications for protein residue analysis. Proteins are present in all bodily fluids and tissues; however, blood is the protein we most commonly test for using cross-over immunoelectrophoresis (CIEP) which tests these proteins (antigens) against known specimens (antibodies) of the same animals.


Any flaked lithic tools or debitage are suitable for analysis; particularly, artifacts with usewear or small cracks and crevices are more likely to contain residues. Samples should be handled as little as possible; however, cleaned or curated artifacts may still be eligible for analysis.

Soils from kill sites and processing areas often contain blood residues from the animals handled at those sites and can be useful for interpreting site activities in lieu of material evidence. Soils should also be tested as control samples for any artifacts analyzed.

The preservation of proteins is variable, and not all samples submitted for analysis will test positive for proteins; proteins can be negatively impacted by environmental factors, handling, and cleaning processes. Please note that we do not currently offer protein residue analysis for ceramics or groundstone artifacts but hope to offer these applications in the near future.

Available Proteins:

AntiseraReacts With AntiseraReacts with
BearBlack bear, brown bear, grizzly bear, polar bear Guinea PigGuinea pig, porcupine, squirrel, beaver
BovineBison, cow, musk ox HorseHorse, donkey
CamelAll camelids HumanHuman
CatCat, bobcat, lynx, mountain lion RabbitRabbit, hare, pika
ChickenChicken, turkey, quail, grouse, pheasant RatRat, mouse
DeerDeer, elk, moose, caribou, pronghorn SheepSheep, goat, bighorn
DogDog, coyote, wolf, fox SalmonSalmon, trout, arctic char


Sample Processing*Cost Per Sample (CAD)
1 – 3$180
4 – 19$150
20 +$120
Analysis and ReportingCosts Per Project (CAD)
Reporting Base Rate$250
Lab Supplies$25 (1-20 samples) $50 (21-50 samples)
Return ShippingTBD

*Standard sampling includes testing for up to four proteins. Extra proteins may be tested for an additional cost.

One free control sample will be processed for every five samples submitted. Additional control samples will be charged at the regular cost per sample. Large orders may qualify for bulk discounts.