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Further evidence for a terrestrial-focused protein diet in prehistoric Rapa Nui

Author(s): Rebecca Hazard ; John Dudgeon ; Amy Commendador

Year: 2015

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Previous analyses of subsistence activities on Rapa Nui generated new classes of data to explain human persistence on this remote, subtropical and ecologically-marginal island. Even compared to other small to medium-sized islands in Eastern Polynesia, Rapa Nui appears anomalous for: 1) an apparent shift away from marine protein sources, determined from stable isotope analysis of bone collagen, and 2) a far greater reliance on a single terrestrial carbohydrate (Ipomoea batatas), determined from microfossil phytolith and starch evidence. Here we report our efforts to extend this interpretive framework using next-generation sequenced amplicons from commensal species recovered from dental calculus. These data are compared with existing zooarchaeological sequence data from two Rapa Nui commensals (Rattus exulans, Gallus gallus) and modern marine taxa to further evaluate the terrestrial-focused subsistence hypothesis.

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Further evidence for a terrestrial-focused protein diet in prehistoric Rapa Nui. John Dudgeon, Rebecca Hazard, Amy Commendador. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396326)


Spatial Coverage

min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;

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