Diet in pottery-making societies from Central Chile: The contribution of stable isotope analyses
This is the first time that stable carbon, nitrogen and oxygen isotope analyses of human bones and teeth have been used to reconstruct subsistence and settlement patterns of prehispanic ceramic societies from Central Chile. Isotope analyses, unlike the evidence from botanical, faunal and artifactual remains from archaeological sites, and from dental and skeletal pathologies, gave information of which resources were really eaten by each individual during the last years of their life. The human data were evaluated against isotopic values of marine and terrestrial resources from central Chile. These results were interpreted taking into consideration different lines of paleodiet evidence. The main contributions are: empirical evidence of dietary differences according to cultural groups; low dependence on marine foods for most people living on the coast; indirect evidence of mobility strategies that show differences between Early and Late Intermediate societies; increased dependence on maize with time, especially among the Aconcagua people; gender differences in maize consumption for the same Aconcagua groups, men showing the greatest levels of maize intake. The results support some hypotheses, such as the difference in dietary patterns between contemporary Bato and Lolleo groups, contradict others, such as the supposed importance of marine diet for coastal inhabitants, and open new research questions for the future.
Quote ItemCHUNGARA-REVISTA DE ANTROPOLOGIA CHILENA Vol. 39 JAN-JUN 2007 1 5-27