Bone Carbonate Derived Stable Isotope Data and Aleut Diet Change

Author(s): Joan Coltrain; David Byers

Year: 2015


In this poster, we build on an earlier study by using stable isotope data extracted from bone carbonate to evaluate the hypothesis that two behaviorally distinct groups of people, Paleo- and Neo-Aleut, occupied the eastern Aleutians after 1000 BP. This study focuses on directly dated burial assemblages from Chaluka midden, Ship Rock Island and Kagamil Island. We use the SISUS linear mixing model informed by isotopic data from Aleut faunal assemblages to address temporal and spatial variation in Aleut diet. The patterning we report illustrates a transition in both at ca. 1000 BP. Our results suggests that the Chaluka diet, dominated by Paleo-Aleut inhumations, differed in both trophic level and foraging location from the other two sites for much of the past 4000 years. Trends in our data also suggest that individuals from Ship Rock and Kagamil burial caves, primarily Neo-Aleuts, had enough access to higher trophic level foods to differentiate their bone chemistries from those buried in Chaluka midden. These trends in diet, recently reported genetic differences, as well as the introduction of novel mortuary practices at ca. 1000 BP, suggest that Neo-Aleuts do represent a population new to the eastern Aleutians.

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Cite this Record

Bone Carbonate Derived Stable Isotope Data and Aleut Diet Change. David Byers, Joan Coltrain. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397727)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;