Molecular taphonomy of biominerals in the Western Pacific


Molecular and microarchaeological artifacts of human subsistence are recorded in the bones, tissues and residues of the skeleton. These artifacts provide substantial correlative evidence for macroscopic and sedimentary data of dietary plant and animal use in the archaeological record. Within the depositional context however, many factors in the local environment disturb or degrade these signatures, reducing or eliminating their usefulness in diet reconstruction. The islands of the tropical Western Pacific produce local environmental conditions that can be particularly disruptive to biogenic signatures, and methods to assess diagenetic alteration are prudent, given the destructive and costly nature of these analyses. Here, we present data collected using ATR-FTIR on Western Pacific specimens submitted for dietary and molecular analysis, and compare our indices of preservation with local environments, chronologies, and dietary and molecular data survival. This is used to create a fine-scale inferential model for assessing the likelihood of extracting dietary data in these environments.

Cite this Record

Molecular taphonomy of biominerals in the Western Pacific. John Dudgeon, Olivia Franklin, Amy Commendador, Julie Field, Michael Dega. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431790)


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): 16930