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Patterns of weaning and childhood diets among ancestral Huron-Wendat communities, determined from stable isotopes of teeth

Author(s): Susan Pfeiffer ; Judith Sealy ; Ronald F. Williamson ; Crystal Forrest ; Louis Lesage

Year: 2017

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Summary

We report here on the study of ancestral teeth retained after repatriation, with the permission and engagement of the Huron-Wendat Nation. We have documented temporal patterns in reliance on maize, as well as decisions about infant feeding. Significant differences between time periods before and after European incursions suggest concrete ways in which disruptions altered daily lives. Study of horizontal dentine slices from 74 teeth (35 deciduous molars, 39 permanent M1) from five communities, 14th to 17th C, shows initiation of weaning between 8 and 18 months and completion between 2.5 and 3.5 years. Weaned children ingested gender-differentiated diets that were proportionally different from adult diets. Weaning was completed a few weeks earlier in the 16th and 17th C, compared to prior times. This corresponds with the time when maize became a more prominent dietary component for all community members. Both shifts may reflect the impact of geographic and socio-political disruptions at that time.


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Patterns of weaning and childhood diets among ancestral Huron-Wendat communities, determined from stable isotopes of teeth. Susan Pfeiffer, Judith Sealy, Ronald F. Williamson, Crystal Forrest, Louis Lesage. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431812)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.815; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -66.753; max lat: 47.398 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14977

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