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Assessing prehistoric herding strategies through stable isotope analysis: a case study from the Dry Puna of Argentina

Author(s): Celeste Samec ; Hugo Yacobaccio ; Héctor Panarello

Year: 2017

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Summary

The relationship between human groups and animal populations in the past can be studied through stable isotope analysis of zooarchaeological remains. More specifically, the isotopic analysis of domestic animals’ tissues can help us to investigate herd composition, diet and mobility strategies employed by herders in the past. However, before these methods can be applied to resolve such questions, variation in isotopic composition and its causes must be addressed and explored by a modern reference data set. For this purpose, we conducted a study of the variation in δ13C and δ15N values measured on bone collagen from modern herds of domesticated South American camelids (Lama glama) of the Dry Puna of Argentina. At the same time, we compared those results with the δ13C and δ15N values measured on bone collagen from domesticated South American camelids (Lama glama) recovered at different archaeological sites from the same area dated to the Late Holocene. Our results showed that the δ13C and δ15N values of prehistoric herds displayed a similar pattern to those values measured on modern herds, indicating the complementary use of different altitudinal ranges by the herders that occupied the area during the Late Holocene as occurs in the present.


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Assessing prehistoric herding strategies through stable isotope analysis: a case study from the Dry Puna of Argentina. Celeste Samec, Hugo Yacobaccio, Héctor Panarello. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431639)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16838

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