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Reconstructing Palaeolithic Prey Migration using Oxygen and Laser Ablation Strontium Isotope Measurements in tooth enamel

Author(s): Alexander Pryor ; Alistair Pike ; Jirí Svoboda ; Alexander Dudin ; Clive Gamble

Year: 2017

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Summary

This presentation reports isotopic data collected for an investigation of food storage behaviours at the European Gravettian sites of Dolní Vĕstonice-Pavlov (Czech Republic) and Late Glacial site of Kostenki 11 (Russian Federation) dated between 30,000-20,000 years ago. Our methods use strontium isotope (high-resolution measurements by laser ablation) and oxygen isotope analysis to investigate seasonal mobility of the main prey species: woolly mammoth, reindeer, horse, fox and wolf. The isotopic data reveal when animals were seasonally present near to the sites, when they were seasonally absent, and how predictable the animals were year-to-year with their movements. Data measured for woolly mammoth are particularly interesting as their teeth grow continuously throughout life and record up to ten years continuous mobility/climatic data per tooth. Results for each site show a clear pattern of habitual migration in mammoth and reindeer, while horses lived in single territories the whole year round. Additionally, in choosing where to locate their basecamps, humans do not appear to have targeted the migratory routes themselves but instead focused on the seasonal territories where fauna reliably spent several months each year. The talk will conclude by discussing the potential significance for Palaeolithic food storage behaviours at 30,000 years ago.


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Reconstructing Palaeolithic Prey Migration using Oxygen and Laser Ablation Strontium Isotope Measurements in tooth enamel. Alexander Pryor, Alistair Pike, Jirí Svoboda, Alexander Dudin, Clive Gamble. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431185)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14668

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