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Early Life Stress at the Late Prehistoric/Early Contact Site of Fallen Tree: Combining Enamel Defects and Incremental Isotope Analysis of Dentin to Explore Nutrition as a Source of Stress

Author(s): Carey Garland ; Laurie Reitsema

Year: 2017

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Summary

This study examines internal enamel micro-defects and incremental isotopic data from tooth dentin to reconstruct early life stress and dietary histories of Guale individuals interred at the Late Precontact/Early Contact period site of Fallen Tree (A.D. mid-1500s) on Saint Catherines Island, Georgia. Fallen Tree presents a new point in the chronology of indigenous biocultural adaptation to Spanish missionization in the southeastern United States. Missionization is associated with increased skeletal stress due to novel infectious diseases, population aggregation, and changes in diet, such as increased reliance on maize. However, diet should not simplistically be equated with nutrition. By comparing incremental isotopic data from tooth dentin with the enamel defect record, nutrition as a source of stress can be explored, especially early life stress associated with the transition from breast milk to solid foods. Results reveal that 79% of individuals exhibit at least one defect, with an average of 2.6 defects/individual. Stress chronologies show that individuals experienced the highest frequency of stress events during their second year of life. Carbon and nitrogen isotope data from incrementally sampled dentine of the same teeth test the hypothesis that dental micro-defects are associated with weaning onto a diet that emphasizes nutritionally poor maize.


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Early Life Stress at the Late Prehistoric/Early Contact Site of Fallen Tree: Combining Enamel Defects and Incremental Isotope Analysis of Dentin to Explore Nutrition as a Source of Stress. Carey Garland, Laurie Reitsema. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431187)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15916

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