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Stable Isotope Evidence of Seasonal Shellfish Harvesting and Consumption in Prehistoric Central California

Author(s): Roshanne Bakhtiary ; Rosemary Cambra ; Alan Leventhal

Year: 2017

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Summary

Shellfish played an important role in the diet of prehistoric hunter-gatherers of Central California. They were the dominant visible component in the large shellmounds that once lined the San Francisco Bay shoreline. Although Bay shellfish are present at inland sites as well, little is known about the role of shellfish in the diet and lifeways of interior populations that hauled the resource in from the Bay. This study focuses on findings from CA-SCL-330, an inland Late Period site in the Diablo Range excavated by the University of California, Davis Field School in the summer of 2016. By looking at stable oxygen isotopic signatures found in the growth rings of certain mollusk species, we can estimate the season of harvest for shellfish brought to this site. Data on individual diet can further characterize consumption patterns of a marginal resource like shellfish and open pathways of inquiry into broader behavioral and social implications including the division of labor by sex and the emergence of status differentiation.


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Stable Isotope Evidence of Seasonal Shellfish Harvesting and Consumption in Prehistoric Central California. Roshanne Bakhtiary, Rosemary Cambra, Alan Leventhal. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431704)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17023

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