Late Holocene dietary variation along the central California coast: Isotopic evidence for marine dependence


Reconstructing dietary variation among earlier human populations remains a major goal of archaeological research. Along the central California coast, archaeological reconstructions of hunter-gatherer subsistence have primarily focused on data gleaned from archaeofaunal remains and lithic assemblages. In this study, we examine paleodiets in Late Holocene (ca. 3430-660 B.P.) humans and fauna from the Monterey Bay area of the California coast. Using stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes of collagen and stable carbon isotopes of bioapatite, we track the relative importance of marine versus terrestrial resources in the diet. Our sample includes radiocarbon dated human burials from 13 coastal archaeological sites, excavated over the past three decades through cultural resource management efforts. In addition, stable isotope data from Monterey Bay hunter-gatherers are compared with previously published data on coastal groups from the Santa Barbara Channel to the south and Drakes Bay and Tomales Bay to the north. Variation in human paleodiets is examined in light of latitudinal differences in terrestrial versus marine resource productivity and time period. This data contributes to the sparse isotopic literature on human foragers from the California coast.

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Late Holocene dietary variation along the central California coast: Isotopic evidence for marine dependence. Kasey Cole, Heather MacInnes, Eric Bartelink, Gary Breschini. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397596)

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Spatial Coverage

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