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Metagenomic analysis of pre-contact diet using ancient dental calculus from Prince Rupert Harbour, British Columbia

Author(s): Alyssa Bader ; Julie M. Allen ; Ripan S. Malhi

Year: 2017

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Prior to the displacement caused by European colonization, the Coast Tsimshian harvested an array of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine dietary resources as they moved between coastal settlements and the nearby Skeena River valley. Conventional paleodietary analysis using faunal analysis and isotopic values has provided valuable data which, when paired with the knowledge of First Nations communities, can help reconstruct how ancestral communities utilized food resources prior to the cultural disruption caused by European contact. However, these methods of analysis are limited in their ability to pair the consumption of specific species with specific individuals, potentially resulting in an incomplete analysis of how individuals in these communities interacted with their environment. Building on previous archaeological analyses, this paper will present the results of a metagenomic study which used next-generation DNA sequencing methods to identify plant and animal DNA preserved in the dental calculus of ancient human remains from several sites across the Prince Rupert Harbour area. The results of this study provide an exciting new lens through which to examine traditional resource use and food-related culture within the ancient communities of the Prince Rupert Harbour area waterways.

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Metagenomic analysis of pre-contact diet using ancient dental calculus from Prince Rupert Harbour, British Columbia. Alyssa Bader, Julie M. Allen, Ripan S. Malhi. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430221)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16594

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