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Lecture

Subsistence & Diet.docx

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Department
Archaeology
Course
AR101
Professor
Bonnie Glencross
Semester
Fall

Description
Subsistence & Diet  The when, where, why and how of subsistence & diet o New formulations: Nature & change in society & culture o Societies have several interconnected parts  Data sources o Ethnohistorical accounts (writing, art)  Neural subsistence was mixed, relying on agriculture, hunting, gathering, fishing & trade. Women did all the agriculture work, tilled ground, planted & harvested corn, stored, prepared, pounded & roasted corn in the ashes. Corn was prepared over 20 different ways. These accounts provide a “short-term view” o Material culture  Archaeologists from York & Bradford analyzed crusts of burnt food found on the inside of chemical structures off fats, oil & ADD  ADD o Botanical remains  Paleoethnobotanists study macro & micro plant remains & residues which provide information on actual food stuffs, diet, nutrition & preparation  Floatation is a method used to separate light fraction from soil (eg. carbonized seeds, wood, small bones)  Phytoliths: rigid microscopeic silica bodies in plant tissues (flower, stem, root). Provide evidence of food stuff, processing, wild vs. domesticated  Palynology: recovery of pollen, spores help reconstruct the environment  Biased samples due to differential & poor preservation o Faunal remains  Zooarchaeology involves the identification & quantification of both macro & micro animal remains  Animal remains provide information on what animals inhabited the area, what was hunted, what was ate  Caution: biased samples due to note differential preservation (eg. when hunting, kills may be butchered away from the site, leaving no skeletal remains  Cut mark patterns indicate butchering technique, burned cone suggests methods of processing  Human remains  Otzi, the “Iceman” died high in the Italian Alps 5,300 years ago. Images of the mummy have revealed that he ate a big meal mostly of the wild goat called ibex just prior to his death  Provide direct evidence of various good consumed by individuals when recovered from mummies & human palaeofeces, provide “short-term view”  Study of human teeth and bones also help to reconstruct diet  Teeth o High acclusal wear rates frequently observed in human skeletal remains are the result of food loaded with abrasive particles whose origins lie in food preparation and processing technologies o Scanning electron microscopy of microscopic wear patterns. Because dental microwear patterns form rapidly, the technique offers a useful insight into diet over the short term o Caries (cavities), the progressive destruction of heard tooth structures (enamel, dentin, cementum) caused by specific acid producing bacteria in the presence of trapped fermentable carbohydrates. This type of decay indicates amount of cooking, composition of diet (eg. presence of carbohydrates) o Calculus/ tartar: calcified dental plaque consisting of calcium phosphate mineral salts deposited between & within microorganisms. The rough surface promotes continued buildup, frequently trapping ADD  Biochemical analyses of teeth & bones o Stable isotope analyses of human bone: allows direct assessment of dietary composition via chemical variation in the different components of bone & teeth  Organisms comprised of common elements. Elements come in different isotopes having the same number of protons but different nu
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