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Reconstructing Ancestral Puebloan Diets in the Middle San Juan River, New Mexico through Stable Isotope Analysis Beau R. DeBoer – Eastern New Mexico University.

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Presentation on theme: "Reconstructing Ancestral Puebloan Diets in the Middle San Juan River, New Mexico through Stable Isotope Analysis Beau R. DeBoer – Eastern New Mexico University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reconstructing Ancestral Puebloan Diets in the Middle San Juan River, New Mexico through Stable Isotope Analysis Beau R. DeBoer – Eastern New Mexico University and Robert H. Tykot – University of South Florida

2 Tommy Site Mine Canyon Site

3 Hypotheses First, that there is no evidence of any dietary differences between the sexes at the Tommy Site. Second, that there is no evidence of any dietary differences between the sexes at the Mine Canyon Site. Third, that there will be a difference in the sample ratios through time between the Tommy Site and Mine Canyon Site.

4 Stable Isotope Analysis Carbon isotope analysis is used to identify C and C plant life. Carbon isotope analysis is used to identify C3 and C4 plant life. Collagen and apatite used together allow for a fairly complete representation of carbon intake. Collagen and apatite used together allow for a fairly complete representation of carbon intake. Nitrogen isotope is used to identify the trophic level of the organism consumed and indicates the amount of animal products consumed. Nitrogen isotope analysis is used to identify the trophic level of the organism consumed and indicates the amount of animal products consumed.

5 Distinguishing C3 and C4 Plants C3 Plants Wheat Rice Beans Tubers Nuts C4 Plants Maize Teosinte Amaranth Sugar cane Sorghum Some millets (DeNiro 1987:184)

6 Analysis Samples Fifty samples were collected, thirty-eight from the Tommy Site and twelve from the Mine Canyon Site. Results were obtained for nearly all samples, values produced carbon and nitrogen ratios for collagen, and carbon and oxygen isotopes for apatite. Samples were prepared and analyzed at the University of South Florida by stable isotope mass spectrometry facilities.

7 Table 1. Isotopic Results

8 Table 1. Isotopic Results (continued)

9 Results The first hypothesis, that there is no evidence of any dietary differences between the sexes at the Tommy Site, is not rejected. We found no statistically significant difference in the values.

10 Results The second hypothesis, that there is no evidence of any dietary differences between the sexes at the Mine Canyon Site, is not rejected. We found no statistically significant difference in the values.

11 Results The third and final hypothesis, that there will be a difference in the sample ratios through time between the Tommy Site and Mine Canyon Site, is rejected. We found no distinction in the values.

12 Results Nitrogen isotope values for the Tommy Site and Mine Canyon Site values have been combined, and while not statistically significant it does appear that females may have consumed slightly more animal products than males.

13 Regional Comparisons Based on the Decker and Tieszen (1989) estimates, individuals from the Tommy Site and Mine Canyon Site had C4 diets composed of at least 70 to 80 percent C4 plant life. Like Spielmann et al. (1990) the Tommy Site and Mine Canyon Site had little isotopic change through time, and suggest that a large portion of the diet was reserved for C4 plants. Using the ranges provided by Matson and Chisholm (1991), at least 80 percent of the Tommy Site and Mine Canyon Site diet is made up of C4 plants. Compared to Ambrose et al. (2003) samples, the Tommy Site and Mine Canyon Site samples had diets significantly higher in C4 plant life.

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15 Dog Isotope Analysis Collected one dog sample for stable isotope analysis in order to test whether its values matched human values. Believed to be a dog because of its intact burial, located close to human burials. Results indicate a diet that is nearly identical isotopically to the human samples.

16 Conclusions The people living at the Tommy Site and Mine Canyon Site had a diet that was very high in C4 plant life, the likely cause being maize. Although the species of fauna changed at some sites in this region, nitrogen values for the two sites indicate the same trophic level of animal product consumption. Isotopically, the diet of these prehistoric individuals remained the same through time.

17 References Cited Decker, Kenneth W. and Larry L. Tieszen 1989 Isotopic Reconstruction of Mesa Verde Diet from Basketmaker III to Pueblo III. Kiva 55(1): DeNiro, Michael J Stable Isotopy and Archaeology. American Scientist 75(2): Durand, Kathy Roler and Stephen R. Durand 2006 Variation in Economic and Ritual Fauna at Salmon Ruins. In Thirty-Five Years of Archaeological Research at Salmon Ruins, New Mexico. Volume Three: Archaeobotanical Research and Other Analytical Studies, edited by Paul F. Reed, pp Center for Desert Archaeology, Tucson and Salmon Ruins, Museum, Bloomfield, New Mexico. Katzenberg, M. Anne (editor) 2000 Stable Isotope Analysis: A Tool for Studying Past Diet, Demography, and Life History. In Biological Anthropology of the Human Skeleton, edited by M. Anne Katzenberg and Shelley R. Saunders, pp Wiley-Liss, New York. Matson, R. G The Origins of Southwestern Agriculture. The University of Arizona Press, Tucson & London. Matson, R.G., and Brian Chisholm 1991 Basketmaker II Subsistence: Carbon Isotopes and Other Dietary Indicators from Cedar Mesa, Utah. American Antiquity 56(3): Ambrose, Stanley H., Jane Buikstra, and Harold W. Krueger 2003 Status and Gender Differences in Diet at Mound 72, Cahokia, Revealed by Isotopic Analysis of Bone. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22: Spielmann, Katherine A., Margaret J. Schoeninger, and Katherine Moore 1990 Plains-Pueblo Interdependence and Human Diet at Pecos Pueblo, New Mexico. American Antiquity 55(4): Slatter, Shannon T Exploration of Craniometric Characters Used in the Analysis and Classification of Recovered Canid Specimens. Unpublished Master's thesis, Department of Anthropology and Applied Archaeology, Eastern New Mexico University. Tykot, Robert H Stable isotopes and diet: You are what you eat. Proceedings of the International School of Physics “Enrico Fermi” Course CLIV, M. Martini, M. Milazzo and M. Piacentini (Eds.) pp IOS Press, Amsterdam. Tykot, Robert H Isotope Analyses and the Histories of Maize. In Histories of Maize: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Prehistory, Linguistics, Biogeography, Domestication, and Evolution of Maize, edited by John E. Staller, Robert H. Tykot, and Bruce F. Benz, pp Elsevier. Akins, Nancy J Prehistoric Faunal Utilization in Chaco Canyon: Basketmaker III Through Pueblo III. In Environment and Subsistence of Chaco Canyon, edited by F.J. Mathien, pp Publications in Archaeology, 18E, Chaco Canyon Studies. National Park Services, U.S. Department of the Interior, Santa Fe. Munro, Natalie D An Investigation of Anasazi Turkey Production in Southwestern Colorado. Unpublished Master’s thesis, Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University.

18 Acknowledgements We wish to thank Mr. Tommy Bolack for access to these collections. The University of South Florida’s Laboratory for Archaeological Science for its access to sample preparation and analysis facilities. Dr. Kathy Roler Durand and Dr. Stephen Durand for their funding in support of this research. Eastern New Mexico University Graduate School Research Grants and Graduate Student Association Grants in support of this research.


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