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Diet and mobility patterns of hunter-gatherers and full-time farmers from the Tehuacan caves of Tehuacan, Puebla

Author(s): Isabel Casar ; Jose Ramon Gallego ; Jose Concepcion Jimenez ; Edith Cienfuegos ; Pedro Morales

Year: 2016

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Summary

The transition between the diet of the hunter-gatherers and the full-time farmers is described on an individual level based on evidence from three ancient caves in Tehuacan, Puebla. The populations studied occupied the caves for almost 8000 years from 6800 BC to AD 1520. The reconstruction of their diet was done on the basis of stable isotopic values of δ13C and δ15N of the bone collagen as well as the δ13C and δ18O from bone-bioapatite and from a series of slices from molars, alternating on them the isotopic analysis of dentine-collagen and dentine-bioapatite.

The results show a gradual dietary transition between the group of hunter-gatherers from the ancient periods with about a 50 percent C3 signature in both dietary components) and the diet of the full-time agricultural group from the later periods with a high ingestion of maize close to 90 percent in the whole diet and probably some gathering of CAM plants, and 100 percent C4 signature in the protein ingested, from animals hunted in the maize fields or semi-domesticated. Also the interpersonal variation of the diet consumed shows interesting correlation with the mobility patterns between the hunter-gatherers and the full-time farmers calculated from their δ18O values.


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Diet and mobility patterns of hunter-gatherers and full-time farmers from the Tehuacan caves of Tehuacan, Puebla. Isabel Casar, Jose Ramon Gallego, Jose Concepcion Jimenez, Edith Cienfuegos, Pedro Morales. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404633)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

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