Grazing Herds on a modern Jordanian Landscape: δ13C and δ15N analysis of plants and caprine hair keratin along an altitudinal cline
The topography of Jordan is uniquely characterized by dramatic shifts in altitude from -300 b.s.l. to +1300 a.s.l. over extremely short distances, which results in sharp differences in precipitation levels and the composition of vegetation communities along altitudinal gradients. Graze species favored by sheep and goats collected along an altitudinal gradient indicate predictable shifts in floral δ13C values, influenced by altitudinal differences in water availability, while nitrogen isotope values are determined by a complex host of factors. In contrast, the carbon isotopic composition of sheep and goat hair keratin indicate heavy anthropogenic inputs that obscure spatially defined isotopic patterning visible in plants. These modern data provide a point of entry into understanding the range of isotopic variability visible in ancient herd animals, and the extent to which we can identify herding practices that involve vertical transhumance over large altitudinal clines through carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses.
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Grazing Herds on a modern Jordanian Landscape: δ13C and δ15N analysis of plants and caprine hair keratin along an altitudinal cline. Kaitlyn Laws, Cheryl Makarewicz, Isabella von Holstein. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397104)
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min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;