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Variability in Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Ratios in Banana Yucca (Yucca Baccata) from Cedar Mesa, Utah: Environmental, Inter-Organ and Processing-based Effects

Author(s): RE Burrillo ; Michael Lewis ; Joan Brenner Coltrain

Year: 2015

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Summary

Recent stable isotope and phytolith studies suggest that desert succulents (in particular Yucca sp. and Opuntia sp.) were a non-trivial component of Ancestral Puebloan diets. However, isotopic variability in such resources is poorly documented. We present 𝜹C13 and 𝜹N15 values for fruits and seeds of thirty modern Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata) specimens from Cedar Mesa, Utah. Experimental roasting and simulated mastication of yucca ‘crowns’ allow separate assays of whole tissue, fiber, and water soluble component for each specimen, providing a thorough record of isotopic variability in this food-source. Implications for diet reconstruction and future research are discussed.

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Variability in Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Ratios in Banana Yucca (Yucca Baccata) from Cedar Mesa, Utah: Environmental, Inter-Organ and Processing-based Effects. Michael Lewis, RE Burrillo, Joan Brenner Coltrain. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397626)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; 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