Childhood Diet and Foraging in Prehistoric Central California


Ethnographic evidence demonstrates that hunter-gatherer children may forage effectively, where ecology, subsistence strategies, and social organization are conducive to juvenile participation. We hypothesize that, in easily navigated environments with food items accessible to children, juveniles will engage in assistive or independent foraging after a period of exclusive post-weaning parental provisioning, and that differences in male and female diets will reflect the sexual division of labor among adults. We use stable isotope measures (δ15N and δ13C) from bone collagen and serial-samples of dentinal collagen extracted from first and third molars to examine childhood diet patterns, and find evidence for independent child foraging in Late Holocene Central California among groups exploiting low-ranking, sessile resources. Our study includes 115 individuals from ten San Francisco Bay Area archaeological sites.

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Cite this Record

Childhood Diet and Foraging in Prehistoric Central California. Alexandra Greenwald, Jelmer Eerkens, Eric Bartelink. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394851)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;