Stable Isotopes and Historic Period Diets at the Spanish Mission of San Juan Capistrano, Bexar County, San Antonio, Texas

Author(s): Raymond Mauldin; Cynthia M Munoz

Year: 2015

Summary

San Juan Capistrano was one of several missions established in Texas in the early 1700s.   Stable isotopic data from burials at this Mission suggests that mission populations consumed a C4/CAM diet with enriched nitrogen. While some of these isotopic results are consistent with historic accounts of Mission diet, the dependence on C4 based animals with high nitrogen values led to suggestions that isotopic values reflected a pre-mission signature, possibly from the Texas Coast (Cargill 1996). We present isotopic data from 39 animals recovered from recent excavations at San Juan which we use to reconstruct aspects of mission diets.  We suggest that the consumption of cows and selected high C4 nitrogen sources would elevate human nitrogen values, mimicking a coastal signature.  San Juan Mission population may have been recent coastal immigrants, but it is likely that they consumed a local diet with high C4 and enriched nitrogen components.

Cite this Record

Stable Isotopes and Historic Period Diets at the Spanish Mission of San Juan Capistrano, Bexar County, San Antonio, Texas. Raymond Mauldin, Cynthia M Munoz. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 434147)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 459