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Dietary variation at Paquimé (Casas Grandes) and Convento sites: Evidence from the stable isotope analysis of human bone collagen

Author(s): Courtney McConnan Borstad ; Jane Kelley ; M. Anne Katzenberg

Year: 2016

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Summary

Paquimé (Casas Grandes), located in northern Mexico, is well known for its Medio period (AD 1200-1450) monumental architecture and the variation apparent in its mortuary practices. While previous bioarcheological studies have addressed a wide range of questions, dietary practices at Paquimé still remain largely unexplored. Stable isotope analysis of bone collagen is one technique that can directly reconstruct diets at Paquimé and identify differences between individuals, time periods, and sites.

Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values were obtained from the bone collagen of 60 Medio period individuals from Paquimé and 14 Viejo period (AD 900-1200) individuals from the nearby site of Convento. Isotopic data from the two are largely similar, indicating that both relied on C4 plants and fauna. However, some Medio period individuals have higher isotope ratios for both carbon and nitrogen. This suggests status differences, and these individuals are further considered with respect to other archaeological evidence. Comparisons to other contemporary sites within Chihuahua and to the American Southwest place these results within a larger regional context. They show that Paquimé, while distinct in many ways, also conformed to many of the general dietary patterns typical of the time.


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Dietary variation at Paquimé (Casas Grandes) and Convento sites: Evidence from the stable isotope analysis of human bone collagen. Courtney McConnan Borstad, Jane Kelley, M. Anne Katzenberg. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404014)


Keywords


Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America