Adaptive Dietary Response to Long-Term Drought: Diachronic Stable Isotope Evidence from the Central Sierra Nevada, California
This study examines human dietary responses to the Medieval Climatic Anomaly (MCA), an extended period of warmer and drier environmental conditions from AD 900-1300, in the Central Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Stable isotope and radiocarbon analyses of human remains attributable to the Tuolumne Me-Wuk reveal individual-level dietary behaviors. Results show a region-specific "Central Sierran" pattern of resource use in the form of a distinctive isotopic signature relative to other areas of California. Radiocarbon dates reveal gradually changing diets over time, but with a marked decrease in trophic level, decreased use of pine nuts, and inter-individual homogenization coinciding with the MCA, suggesting significant dietary stress and resource intensification. Further stable isotope analyses of serial sections of teeth from individuals who lived before, during, and after the MCA are used to examine more fine scale dietary changes over individuals’ lifetimes. The data illuminate broad-scale human behavioral adaptation to changing climatic conditions, particularly inter-individual variation and differences between age groups and the sexes.
Cite this Record
Adaptive Dietary Response to Long-Term Drought: Diachronic Stable Isotope Evidence from the Central Sierra Nevada, California. Bryna Hull, Jemer Eerkens, Reba Fuller. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431699)
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;
Abstract Id(s): 17561