Assessing Dietary Variability at Gillman Mound, South Australia using Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopes

Author(s): Caitlin Smith

Year: 2015


The production, distribution, and consumption of food are central to the human experience. What we eat and how we prepare, consume, and share our victuals permeates every society, past and present. Therefore, it is crucial that our study of past human societies include attention to the role of foods and diet in our observations and interpretations of archaeological and biological data. Recent research in South Australia has highlighted the need for further exploration into the social structure and food subsistence patterns of Australian aboriginals. Additional investigation into variation and constraint in these populations is necessary in order to create a more nuanced picture of gender divisions in these societies. Stable isotope analysis has the potential to identify how gender influences past diet. The objective of this research is to evaluate what stable isotope analysis can tell us about the diet and gendered dietary behaviours of Australian hunter-gatherers. This objective is considered in relation to individuals buried at Gillman Mound, South Australia. Preliminary results indicate that the complex and diverse ecosystems in this region of Australia complicate the interpretation of signals from stable isotopes.

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Assessing Dietary Variability at Gillman Mound, South Australia using Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopes. Caitlin Smith. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398044)

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min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;