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Assessing Stable Isotope Data from Archaeological White-tailed Deer Remains as a Palaeoenvironmental Proxy at the Site of La Joyanca, Northwestern Peten, Yucatan Peninsula

Author(s): Maria Jose Rivera Araya ; Suzanne Pilaar Birch

Year: 2017

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Summary

The sociopolitical reorganization of the Maya that took place during the Terminal Classic (AD 850–1050) has been interpreted as being correlated to regional environmental change, specifically drought. However, few climate reconstructions come from the southern Maya lowlands where the decline occurred during this period. While most paleoenvironmental reconstructions lack a local, site-related signature and instead reflect regional trends, stable isotope analyses of herbivore faunal remains have proven to be a useful tool to for providing local insight into ancient environments. Our research is the first to examine the potential of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) teeth for recording seasonal changes in precipitation and vegetation at the secondary political center of La Joyanca, northwestern Petén, during AD 850-1050. A sample of second and third molars from white tailed deer from the site were analyzed for intra-tooth oxygen and carbon isotopes. Records of precipitation seasonality and vegetation change were derived from the samples. A modern comparative dataset from the Southeastern US was also analyzed to aid in the interpretation of the results.


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Assessing Stable Isotope Data from Archaeological White-tailed Deer Remains as a Palaeoenvironmental Proxy at the Site of La Joyanca, Northwestern Peten, Yucatan Peninsula. Maria Jose Rivera Araya, Suzanne Pilaar Birch. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431189)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Mesoamerica


Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16008

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