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Evaluating the Utility of Using Stable Oxygen Isotope Analysis to Study Ancient Migration and Climate Reconstruction in the Ayacucho Basin of Peru

Author(s): Tiffiny Tung ; Theresa Miller ; Jessica Oster ; Larisa DeSantis

Year: 2016

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Summary

This study examines whether oxygen isotope analysis can be used to study ancient human migration in the central, highland Andes of Peru (Ayacucho Basin). Although strontium isotope analysis is a reliable way of exploring questions of migration, oxygen isotope analysis, which is significantly less expensive, may offer preliminary insights regarding the possible presence of migrants at a site. This approach has not yet been used in the Ayacucho Basin where the Wari empire was centered, so we explore its utility in this region of the Andes. We present oxygen isotope ratios from local streams and rainwater from different seasons in the modern era, and from animal and human dentition that correspond to two temporal contexts at the site of Huari: Terminal Wari (ca AD 1000-1100, N=34 humans) and Post-Wari (Late Intermediate Period, AD 1250-1400, N=26 humans). Results show that among the 102 enamel carbonate samples from the 60 humans, the δ18OVPDB ranges from -10.32 to -6.82 and the mean δ18OVPDB=-8.9 (sd=.64). These oxygen isotope values will be compared to those obtained from local modern water and archaeological fauna to evaluate their utility in establishing local baseline values and in detecting whether any individuals might be non-local.


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Evaluating the Utility of Using Stable Oxygen Isotope Analysis to Study Ancient Migration and Climate Reconstruction in the Ayacucho Basin of Peru. Tiffiny Tung, Theresa Miller, Jessica Oster, Larisa DeSantis. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404930)


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min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

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