Event Title

Presentation, "Stable carbon and oxygen isotope ratios reveal signature of coastal foraging: the Agta and Batek compared"

Start Date

11-6-2014 1:15 PM

End Date

11-6-2014 2:30 PM

Description

ABSTRACT — The coastal colonization hypothesis for the peopling of Southeast Asia predicts the exploitation of marine resources. The assimilation of marine protein, in turn, is expected to result in high collagen δ13C and δ15N values, but testing this prediction with human osteological remains is challenged by the poor preservation of collagen at humid archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. The mineral fraction of bone and teeth (bioapatite) is more resistant to diagenesis and therefore more likely to yield a biogenic isotope composition; however, bioapatite δ13C values are a crude indicator of coastal subsistence. Here we test whether tandem measures of stable carbon and oxygen isotope ratios in hair keratin can discriminate coastal foraging in two contemporary peoples, the Agta and Batek. Both populations express the negrito phenotype and subsist by hunting and gathering; they are also hypothesized descendants of the earliest humans in Southeast Asia. We found that marine foraging by coastal Agta is associated with higher δ13C and δ18O values than the inland foraging by river-based Agta and Batek. These findings suggest that bioapatite δ13C and δ18O values can be used in combination to detect signatures of coastal foraging in the archaeological record of Southeast Asia.

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Jun 11th, 1:15 PM Jun 11th, 2:30 PM

Presentation, "Stable carbon and oxygen isotope ratios reveal signature of coastal foraging: the Agta and Batek compared"

ABSTRACT — The coastal colonization hypothesis for the peopling of Southeast Asia predicts the exploitation of marine resources. The assimilation of marine protein, in turn, is expected to result in high collagen δ13C and δ15N values, but testing this prediction with human osteological remains is challenged by the poor preservation of collagen at humid archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. The mineral fraction of bone and teeth (bioapatite) is more resistant to diagenesis and therefore more likely to yield a biogenic isotope composition; however, bioapatite δ13C values are a crude indicator of coastal subsistence. Here we test whether tandem measures of stable carbon and oxygen isotope ratios in hair keratin can discriminate coastal foraging in two contemporary peoples, the Agta and Batek. Both populations express the negrito phenotype and subsist by hunting and gathering; they are also hypothesized descendants of the earliest humans in Southeast Asia. We found that marine foraging by coastal Agta is associated with higher δ13C and δ18O values than the inland foraging by river-based Agta and Batek. These findings suggest that bioapatite δ13C and δ18O values can be used in combination to detect signatures of coastal foraging in the archaeological record of Southeast Asia.