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Stable isotopic (δ13C and δ18O) and zooarchaeological insights into vertical transhumance of early Neolithic domesticated sheep and goats in southern Jordan

Author(s): Cheryl Makarewicz

Year: 2017

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Summary

Vertical transhumance provides livestock with consistent access to quality graze throughout the year and likely contributed to the intensification of livestock husbandry in the Near East over ten thousand

years ago. Here, carbon (δ13C) and oxygen (δ18O) isotopic time series obtained from sequentially sampled domesticated and wild herbivore teeth recovered from late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (ninth millennium cal BP) settlements, each located in the sharply divergent elevations of southern Jordan, were measured. Inverse cyclical variation visible in the carbon and oxygen isotopes of sequentially sampled sheep and goat teeth, and further calibration of sheep and goat δ18O values against those from aurochsen and gazelle, which track the oxygen isotopic composition of meteoric water and leaf water, respectively, reveal use of complex livestock husbandry systems that included vertical transhumance, stationary flock-keeping, and winter foddering. These isotopic data are then used to further inform zooarchaeological data sets from late PPNB settlements located in the Jordanian highlands and steppic margins.


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Stable isotopic (δ13C and δ18O) and zooarchaeological insights into vertical transhumance of early Neolithic domesticated sheep and goats in southern Jordan. Cheryl Makarewicz. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429937)


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Abstract Id(s): 17244

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