New techniques for understanding animal and human interactions in the past
“Indispensable for anyone working with zooarchaeological materials.”—Pam J. Crabtree, coeditor of Anthropological Approaches to Zooarchaeology: Colonialism, Complexity and Animal Transformations “Explains the established and ongoing development of six isotopes as applied to zooarchaeological studies. The importance of faunal isotope values is made clear for interpreting human activities and dietary patterns.”—Robert H. Tykot, coauthor of Histories of Maize in Mesoamerica: Multidisciplinary Approaches
Through case studies of faunal remains from Roman Britain, prehistoric Southeast Asia, ancient African pastoral cultures, and beyond, this volume illustrates some of the ways stable isotope analysis of ancient animals can address key questions in human prehistory.
Contributors use a diverse set of isotopic techniques to investigate social and biological topics, including human paleodiets and foodways, hunting and procurement strategies, exchange patterns, animal husbandry and the genetic consequences of domestication, and short- and long-term environmental change. They demonstrate how different isotopes can be used alone or in conjunction to address questions of animal diet, movement, ecology, and management. Studies also examine how sampling strategies, statistical techniques, and regional and temporal considerations can influence isotopic results and interpretations.
By applying these new methods in concert with traditional zooarchaeological analyses, archaeologists can explore questions about human ecology and environmental archaeology that were previously deemed inaccessible.
Ashley E. Sharpe is research archaeologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s Center for Tropical Paleoecology and Archaeology. John Krigbaum is professor of anthropology at the University of Florida.