Human dietary responses to the ecological instability of prehistoric Khao Wong Prachan Valley, Thailand: corroboration between paleobotany and skeletal chemistry
In Mainland Southeast Asia, rice agriculture and consumption has been a factor frequently tested for changes in population, biological and socio-cultural dynamics in prehistory. For Khao Wong Prachan Valley (KWPV) in central Thailand, Weber et al. (2010) indicated that rice did not enter the stratigraphy until the 1st millennium B.C., while millet seeds were encountered as early as the 3rd millennium B.C. and persisted throughout. Factors such as climate fluctuation, population expansion, and diminishing wild plants due to deforestation could stimulate the incorporation of newly available plant food resources, in this case rice. A KWPV site occupied during the late Neolithic to the early Bronze Age, human skeletal remains from Non Mak La are isotopically analyzed to examine the relationship between botanical evidence and human dietary responses. Results from enamel apatite demonstrate a clear trend chronologically from a C4-oriented diet (mainly millet) to the increasing contribution of C3 foods (rice), echoing the botanical findings. The consumption of C4 plants, however, remained evident over time, suggesting a continuous C3-C4 mixed diet. Data from other prehistoric central Thai sites also suggest that locally-sourced wide spectrum diets were maintained over time despite ecological and cultural variability.
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Human dietary responses to the ecological instability of prehistoric Khao Wong Prachan Valley, Thailand: corroboration between paleobotany and skeletal chemistry. Chin-hsin Liu, John Krigbaum. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396696)
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