Stable isotope analysis of permafrost-preserved human hair and faunal remains from Nunalleq, Alaska: dietary variation, climate change and the pre-contact Arctic food-web
The reconstruction of diet and subsistence strategies is integral to understanding past societies and human-environment interactions. Here we present stable carbon, nitrogen and sulphur isotope data from non-mortuary human hair and faunal remains from the site of Nunalleq, Alaska. Spanning the Little Ice Age (c.1350 to 1650 AD), this large, complex and well-preserved site offers a near-unique opportunity to reconstruct the pre-contact Arctic food-web and to explore temporal and site-spatial variations in human diet and subsistence. Overall data suggest a mixed diet (including marine and terrestrial protein), but inter-individual isotopic variations suggest intra-group differences in the consumption of higher trophic level foods. The analysis of longer strands of hair, permitting the reconstruction of time-series dietary information, indicates both seasonal dietary homogeneity and heterogeneity amongst different individuals. The implications for our understanding of geographical, temporal and socio-cultural complexity in pre-contact Arctic subsistence will be explored.
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Stable isotope analysis of permafrost-preserved human hair and faunal remains from Nunalleq, Alaska: dietary variation, climate change and the pre-contact Arctic food-web. Kate Britton, Ellen McManus, Rick Knecht, Olaf Nehlich, Mike Richards. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395826)
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min long: -178.41; min lat: 62.104 ; max long: 178.77; max lat: 83.52 ;