Bioarchaeological evidence for diet in a Latte Period assemblage from Saipan, CNMI


Garapan, a Latte Period (A.D. 1000-1521) archaeological site in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, was excavated under mitigation efforts by Scientific Consultant Services, Hawaii in 2015. The recovery produced over 400 sets of skeletal remains, of which forty-eight were submitted for dietary bioarchaeological analysis in the Center for Archaeology, Materials and Applied Spectroscopy. This research focuses on the importance of marine versus terrestrial protein sources and introduced plant cultigens to investigate possible cultural affiliation via diet at Garapan. A stepwise methodology is employed to identify dietary patterns, including the evaluation of bone preservation using ATR-FTIR, extraction and analysis of collagen and carbonate stable isotopes, and extraction of microfossil and organic residues from dental calculus. Whereas stable isotope analysis of archaeological bone can offer probabilistic insights into major classes of proteins and starches in the diet, microfossil analysis may produce a more deterministic evaluation of particular components of the diet, through identification of taxon-specific starches, phytoliths and organic molecules embedded in the calculus matrix. Using this combined approach, we present our bioarchaeological dietary assessment and offer insight into how this stepwise method for investigating diet in archaeological samples provides additional data points for understanding cultural affiliation through subsistence in Micronesia.

Cite this Record

Bioarchaeological evidence for diet in a Latte Period assemblage from Saipan, CNMI. Olivia Franklin, John Dudgeon, Amy Commendador, Rebecca Hazard, Michael Dega. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431785)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16338