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Title: Early Neolithic diets at Baijia, Wei River valley, China: Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of human and faunal remains
Authors: Atahan, P
Dodson, JR
Li, XQ
Zhou, X
Hu, S
Chen, L
Bertuch, F
Grice, K
Keywords: China
Archaeological sites
Carbon 14
Stable isotopes
Issue Date: 13-Feb-2013
Publisher: Past Global Changes
Citation: Atahan, P., Dodson, J., Li, X., Zhou, A., Hu, S., Chen, L., Bertuch, F., & Grice, K. (2013). Early neolithic diets at Baijia, Wei River Valley, China: stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of human and faunal remains. Paper presented the Past Global Changes 4th Open Science Meeting, Goa, India 13-16 February 2013.
Abstract: The first farmers of the Wei River valley belonged to the Laoguantai period (ca. 8500-7000 yr BP) and lived in small settlements that were sparsely distributed in the landscape. Understanding of Laoguantai farming practices is limited as only a small number of archaeological sites are known. Here we present stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values for faunal and human bone collagen from Baijia, a Laoguantai site in the Wei River valley of Shaanxi Province, China. Five of the collagen samples have been AMS 14C dated and have a calibrated age range of ca. 7659-7339 yr BP. Stable isotope results show millet and aquatic foods, such as fish and shellfish, being included in the human diet. Bovid samples, which are tentatively identified as water buffalo, have stable carbon isotope values reflecting some millet consumption. The question of whether these bovids were grazing on millet growing wild, or had diets directly influenced by humans, remains to be answered. Stable isotope results for a single pig reveal a markedly different diet, one dominated by C3 plants which would have dominated natural vegetation of the region. Overall, stable isotope results conform to the current view of Laoguantai people being millet farmers with subsistence strategies that included hunted wild foods.
Gov't Doc #: 9673
Appears in Collections:Conference Publications

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