The development of analytical techniques associated with individual life history approaches to reconstructing prehistoric patterns of diet and mobility has produced significant changes in the potential information contained within a single skeleton. In the context of Early Bronze Age hunter-gatherer groups in Cis-Baikal, Siberia, a comparison of bulk versus micro-sampling strategies has altered understanding of the level of mobility and interaction. Detailed surveys of biogeochemical variation in the landscape combined with improved resolution translate into an ability to examine the provenance and track the movements of an individual through different stages in their life. Determining where an individual was on the geographic landscape during multiple phases of life, as opposed to the geochemical landscape of childhood and death, is important to differentiating between patterns of migration and smaller scale movements undertaken during life. Advances in micro-sampling capabilities have enabled new sampling strategies that include the collection of data from multiple points on individual human teeth and bones. Micro-sampling of multiple skeletal elements expands the resolution with which researchers can examine an individual’s life. Technical advances have also highlighted a need to re-examine the relationship between theoretical and analytical aspects of behavioral reconstructions in prehistory. Geochemical research in Cis-Baikal has closely followed advances in analytical capabilities and provides a case study to assess the efficacy of theoretical assumptions underlying explanations of short and long distance movements during lifetime and examine potential improvements in data interpretations.

See Publication
PDF Download