Presentation Type

Poster

Title of Abstract

Paleodietary Implications of Human Bones from Quebrada de Humahuaca and Puna (Jujuy, Northwest Argentina)

Abstract

Human skeletal remains from archaeological sites in northwestern Argentina were analyzed to determine Precolumbian diets. Stable isotope analysis mass spectrometry of carbon and nitrogen ratios of bone and tooth root collagen, and carbon and oxygen ratios of bone apatite was used to determine the main constituents of this ancient population’s diet. In particular, a significant area of current archaeological research in South America is determining the timeline of maize introduction and its increasing importance over time. Human bone and tooth samples were taken from two different areas, Puna and Quebrada de Humahuaca, in the Jujuy region of northwestern Argentina, and the results of previous analyses of archaeological animal and plant samples were used as a baseline for interpreting the isotopic results. The analytical results were compared between the two locations, particularly any differences in the importance of maize in the diet. Through the comparison, general conclusions can be drawn on food resources, production, and dietary patterns within the two areas, which appear to have been significantly different. With information on the Precolumbian diet of northwestern Argentina, we can further compare this region with other areas of Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia, and the spread of maize from its origins in Mesoamerica.

Categories

Social Sciences

Research Type

Course Related

Mentor Information

Dr. Robert Tykot

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Paleodietary Implications of Human Bones from Quebrada de Humahuaca and Puna (Jujuy, Northwest Argentina)

Human skeletal remains from archaeological sites in northwestern Argentina were analyzed to determine Precolumbian diets. Stable isotope analysis mass spectrometry of carbon and nitrogen ratios of bone and tooth root collagen, and carbon and oxygen ratios of bone apatite was used to determine the main constituents of this ancient population’s diet. In particular, a significant area of current archaeological research in South America is determining the timeline of maize introduction and its increasing importance over time. Human bone and tooth samples were taken from two different areas, Puna and Quebrada de Humahuaca, in the Jujuy region of northwestern Argentina, and the results of previous analyses of archaeological animal and plant samples were used as a baseline for interpreting the isotopic results. The analytical results were compared between the two locations, particularly any differences in the importance of maize in the diet. Through the comparison, general conclusions can be drawn on food resources, production, and dietary patterns within the two areas, which appear to have been significantly different. With information on the Precolumbian diet of northwestern Argentina, we can further compare this region with other areas of Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia, and the spread of maize from its origins in Mesoamerica.