ACCELERATE – ArChaeological and Climatic data from ELEmental ratios using Rapid Analysis of shell carbonate

2016 to 2018

Project No: 703625, Co-ordinator: D. Anglos

Now we wanted to see, what the ratio of Magnesium to Calcium in the shell can tell us.

ACCELERATE is a Marie Skłodowska Curie IF-Project that aims to develop a rapid and affordable technique using Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) to retrieve climatic information preserved in the elemental composition of marine mollusc shell carbonates and establish standardised ways of applying this technique to coastal shell-midden deposits around the world.

It combines the disciplines of Laser Spectroscopy, Climatology and Archaeology to advance the reconstruction of climate change, exploitation of coastal resources and human-landscape interactions at an unprecedented scale and resolution.

Anthropogenic shell deposits are found in their thousands across the globe over the last 100,000 years. Locked within the shells are climatic records with a high resolution. This crucial information is currently inaccessible due to expensive and laborious techniques, resulting in small, unrepresentative studies and a lack of comparability between them. ACCELERATE resolves this by developing LIBS, which allows rapid chemical analyses, increasing the cost efficiency by a factor of 20 and resulting in large analytical datasets. This will lay the foundation for affordable and comprehensive climate studies world-wide, one of the main Horizon 2020 policy priorities to understand and adapt to climate change.

Scanning life histories of stone age oysters


Hausmann, N., Prendergast, A.L., Lemonis, A. et al. Extensive elemental mapping unlocks Mg/Ca ratios as climate proxy in seasonal records of Mediterranean limpets. Sci Rep 9, 3698 (2019). DOI:

Hausmann, N., Robson, H.K. and Hunt, C., 2019. Annual Growth Patterns and Interspecimen Variability in Mg/Ca Records of Archaeological Ostrea edulis (European Oyster) from the Late Mesolithic Site of Conors Island. Open Quaternary, 5(1), p.9.


Marie Skłodowska Curie’s actions support the mobility of researchers within and beyond Europe. MSCA is solely funding the ACCELERATE Individual Fellowship.
ACCELERATE is a project funded by the European Union, H2020-MSCA-IF-2015, Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship, under GA No. 703625. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union can be held responsible for them.

The contents of the website reflect only the author’s view and the Agency and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.