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Feeding the Ranks: correlating social organization and dietary patterns at the Yukisma Mound (CA-SCL-38)

Author(s): Rosemary Cambra ; Eric J. Bartelink ; Karen Gardner ; Alan Leventhal ; Antoinette Martinez

Year: 2015

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The Yukisma Mound (CA-SCL-38), located in Santa Clara County, California, was used by the ancestral Ohlone as a mortuary site between approximately 940 and 230 years BP. Analysis of mortuary contexts within the mound revealed evidence of social differentiation in wealth, prestige, moiety affiliation and power. Special mortuary treatment, artifact abundance, and association with costly artifacts or culturally significant wealth items suggested that some individuals held higher status than others without these associations. These observations were enhanced by dietary evidence from stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of bone collagen (n=127) and apatite (n=122). Measures of wealth were not correlated with advancing age, an indication that wealth was inherited. However, larger bead caches with adults suggested that wealthy status could also be achieved. Prestige, inferred from elaborate mortuary treatment (e.g. burning of possessions or offerings), was surprisingly not correlated with measures of wealth but did have dietary implications. Dietary patterns were only weakly correlated with measures of wealth, but elevated δ13C values of bone apatite were observed in individuals buried with Haliotis pendants, likely a marker of moiety affiliation. Multiple lines of evidence revealed social complexity at the Yukisma Mound, characteristic of ranked social organization.

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Feeding the Ranks: correlating social organization and dietary patterns at the Yukisma Mound (CA-SCL-38). Karen Gardner, Eric J. Bartelink, Antoinette Martinez, Alan Leventhal, Rosemary Cambra. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396121)


Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America