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Stable Isotopic and Radiocarbon Analysis of Neolithic and Bronze Age Fisher-Hunter Gatherers from Lake Baikal’s Little Sea, Upper Lena River, and Selenga River Regions

Author(s): J. Alyssa White ; Rick J. Schulting ; Peter Hommel ; Vyacheslav Moiseyev ; Valeriy I. Khartanovich

Year: 2017

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Summary

The diet of prehistoric hunter-gatherers in the Lake Baikal Region has been extensively studied using stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic analyses. This paper extends this work, reporting new carbon and nitrogen stable isotope and AMS radiocarbon dating results from the cemeteries of Verkholensk (n=45) in the Upper Lena micro-region; Ulan-Khada II–V (n=19) in the Little Sea micro-region; and Fofanovo (n=22) in the Selenga micro-region. The latter analyses represent the first stable isotopic data from the eastern side of Lake Baikal.

Our results revealed several interesting patterns: Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age individuals at Verkholensk were significantly different from each other in δ15N (n=41, df=39, p=0.000), suggesting a more terrestrial diet in the latter. Children to young adults differed significantly from mid to old adults at Ulan-Khada in δ15N (n=12, df=10, p=0.009), the latter showing depleted 15N values. The results from Fofanovo appear isotopically distinct from the other micro-regions as a result of heavy reliance on the Selenga River’s resources. At Fofanovo in particular, there were discrepancies between the radiocarbon results and expected archaeological datings. In the future, it will be necessary to establish appropriate freshwater reservoir corrections for sites along the Selenga.


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Stable Isotopic and Radiocarbon Analysis of Neolithic and Bronze Age Fisher-Hunter Gatherers from Lake Baikal’s Little Sea, Upper Lena River, and Selenga River Regions. J. Alyssa White, Rick J. Schulting, Peter Hommel, Vyacheslav Moiseyev, Valeriy I. Khartanovich. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430735)


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Abstract Id(s): 16182

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