Stable Isotope Ratios from Modern and Archeological Fauna from Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

Author(s): Marian Hamilton; Lee Drake; Wirt Wills; Emily Jones

Year: 2017


Stable isotope analysis of archaeological material can reveal aspects of diet, mobility, resource exchange, and social structure in ancient civilizations. Chaco Canyon, New Mexico is a World Heritage site in northwestern New Mexico with peak activity and habitation around 1000AD. The nature of resource management by those inhabiting the Canyon has been long debated. Here, we present carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, and strontium isotope data from archaeological faunal remains collected from from multiple time intervals throughout the habitation of Chaco Canyon. We also include a robust comparable dataset of modern fauna from the same region to provide context and quantify expected isotopic variation under known parameters. We use these isotopic systems to test hypotheses regarding long-distance animal resource procurement, small mammal domestication, and shifting ecological niches of non-domesticated fauna as human activity intensified. We also discuss limitations in the application of isotopic data to such questions and suggest methodologies to accurately quantify variation and uncertainty when using this type of data.

Cite this Record

Stable Isotope Ratios from Modern and Archeological Fauna from Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Marian Hamilton, Lee Drake, Wirt Wills, Emily Jones. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429427)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 12140