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Investigating Breastfeeding/Weaning Practices and Adult Mobility Patterns during the Western Zhou Dynasty (1122 – 771 BC) at Boyangcheng, Anhui Province, China

Author(s): Benjamin Fuller ; Yang Xia ; Jinglei Zhang ; Tingting Wang ; YaoWu Hu

Year: 2017

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Summary

In a first for Chinese archaeology, breastfeeding/weaning practices were investigated at the Western Zhou Dynasty (1122 – 771 BC) site of Boyangcheng, Anhui Province. Ribs and long bones were analyzed to examine short and long term dietary changes in each individual. The adult δ13C and δ15N results indicate that mixed C3 (possibly rice) and C4 (millet) terrestrial diets with varying levels of animal protein were consumed. The elevated subadult δ13C and δ15N results reflect that solid foods were introduced to the infant’s diet before the age of 2 years and that cessation of breastfeeding occurred predominately between 2-3 years of age and no later than 4. Individuals between 2-10 years old, with lower δ13C and δ15N results than the adult mean, possibly had a more plant-based diet with reduced amounts of animal protein during childhood. The isotopic offsets between ribs and long bones revealed that five adults experienced radical dietary shifts in their later lives; all switching from predominately C4 to C3 diets. Based on historical and archaeological evidence of the Jianghuai region (where Boyangcheng is located) these individuals could have been Dongyi migrants from the Shandong region of northern China.


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Investigating Breastfeeding/Weaning Practices and Adult Mobility Patterns during the Western Zhou Dynasty (1122 – 771 BC) at Boyangcheng, Anhui Province, China. Benjamin Fuller, Yang Xia, Jinglei Zhang, Tingting Wang, YaoWu Hu. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431811)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14943

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