Congratulations to Alyssa White on her recent article published in the Journal of Archaeological Science! Mrs. White is currently a DPhil student at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Dr. Rick Schulting and Dr. Mark Hudson. This paper is based on Alyssa’s Master’s work for the BAP. She would like to acknowledge Andrew Lythe (another M.Sc. student from the year after her) whose research is also highlighted in the paper. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Montreal. Congratulations also to our other BAP team members who contributed as co-authors.
Title: Integrated stable isotopic and radiocarbon analyses of Neolithic and Bronze Age hunter-gatherers from the Little Sea and Upper Lena micro- regions, Cis-Baikal, Siberia
Authors: White JA, Schulting RJ, Lythe A, Hommel P, Ramsey CB, Moiseyev V, Khartanovich V, Weber AW.
Abstract: The Lake Baikal region of southern Siberia has a rich mortuary record that has provided the most comprehensive isotopic database for palaeodietary studies of north-temperate hunter-gatherers in the world, permitting more detailed reconstructions and finer-grained research questions than are usually possible. Building on previous work, this study contributes new δ13C, δ15N, and AMS radiocarbon dating results from the cemeteries of Verkholensk (n ¼ 44) in the Upper Lena River micro-region and Ulan-Khada (n ¼ 19) in the Little Sea micro-region. Our results reveal that the Late Neolithic (LN, 5570–4600 cal BP) individuals at Verkholensk exhibit higher δ15N values than in the Early Bronze Age (EBA, 4600–3700 cal BP), suggesting a shift to a more terrestrial diet, possibly in response to climate-induced environmental changes. In addition, EBA individuals at Verkholensk differ in both δ13C and δ15N from those at the nearby site of Obkhoi, suggesting territorial divisions at a surprisingly small scale, although there is a diachronic component that needs to be considered, highlighting the need for additional work on freshwater reservoir corrections for the Upper Lena micro-region. The Ulan-Khada EBA results are consistent with the ‘Game-Fish’ and ‘Game-Fish-Seal’ dietary patterns previously identified in the Little Sea micro-region. The now substantial Little Sea micro-region EBA dataset—— allows for more subtle differences in diet to be identified, namely that EBA females with Game-Fish-Seal diets for the whole of the Little Sea sample display significantly lower mean δ13C values than their male counterparts, providing some of the first evidence for sex-based dietary distinctions in Lake Baikal. A small number of δ13C and/or δ15N outliers were identified at both Verkholensk and Ulan-Khada that may support previous suggestions of individual mobility between the Upper Lena and Little Sea micro-regions. Exploratory use of δ18O isotopes in bone collagen offers a novel line of support for this scenario, confirming a number of independently identified outliers.
Congratulations to Alyssa and co-authors!