Isotopic evidence of human mobility and diet in a prehistoric/protohistoric Fijian coastal environment (c. 750-150 BP)

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Authors: Stantis, C., Buckley, H.R., Kinaston, R.L., Nunn, P.D., Jaouen, K. and Richards, M.P.

Journal: Am J Phys Anthropol

Volume: 159

Issue: 3

Pages: 478-495

eISSN: 1096-8644

DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22884

OBJECTIVES: Bourewa, on the southwest coast of Viti Levu in Fiji, is a multi-period site that contained burials dated to the later Vuda Phase (750-150 BP), a period of climatic fluctuations that potentially impacted the availability of food resources. We aim to investigate diet and movement at this site during a time of possible ecological pressure and political change. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analyzed δ(13) C, δ(15) N, and (87) Sr/(86) Sr of these Vuda Phase individuals (n = 25) interred at the site. By analyzing dentin and bone, both childhood diet and the diet within the past few years of adults' lives were examined. RESULTS: The paleodietary results suggested that adult diets consisted largely of low trophic level marine organisms. Dentin and bone isotopic values differed significantly: childhood diet involved consumption of more higher trophic level terrestrial foods. Most individuals displayed (87) Sr/(86) Sr ratios expected of people living along a marine coastline. However, a few individuals displayed (87) Sr/(86) Sr ratios and paleodietary values (δ(13) Cdentin , δ(15) Ndentin ) suggestive of living further inland or consuming a more terrestrial-based childhood diet. DISCUSSION: The results are compared with past studies of sites from Fiji and nearby archipelagoes, placing our interpretations into a wider regional context. The Bourewa community appears to have consumed more low trophic level marine foods than any nearby site, possibly because terrestrial foods were more difficult to acquire. Interpreting the childhood diet is challenging due to the paucity of ethnohistoric literature on Fijian childhood; small meals outside of communal mealtimes or feeding children terrestrial animal protein as a means of cultural buffering are potential explanations.

This data was imported from Scopus:

Authors: Stantis, C., Buckley, H.R., Kinaston, R.L., Nunn, P.D., Jaouen, K. and Richards, M.P.

Journal: American Journal of Physical Anthropology

Volume: 159

Issue: 3

Pages: 478-495

eISSN: 1096-8644

ISSN: 0002-9483

DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22884

© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Objectives Bourewa, on the southwest coast of Viti Levu in Fiji, is a multi-period site that contained burials dated to the later Vuda Phase (750-150 BP), a period of climatic fluctuations that potentially impacted the availability of food resources. We aim to investigate diet and movement at this site during a time of possible ecological pressure and political change. Materials and Methods We analyzed δ13C, δ15N, and 87Sr/86Sr of these Vuda Phase individuals (n = 25) interred at the site. By analyzing dentin and bone, both childhood diet and the diet within the past few years of adults' lives were examined. Results The paleodietary results suggested that adult diets consisted largely of low trophic level marine organisms. Dentin and bone isotopic values differed significantly: childhood diet involved consumption of more higher trophic level terrestrial foods. Most individuals displayed 87Sr/86Sr ratios expected of people living along a marine coastline. However, a few individuals displayed 87Sr/86Sr ratios and paleodietary values (δ13Cdentin, δ15Ndentin) suggestive of living further inland or consuming a more terrestrial-based childhood diet. Discussion The results are compared with past studies of sites from Fiji and nearby archipelagoes, placing our interpretations into a wider regional context. The Bourewa community appears to have consumed more low trophic level marine foods than any nearby site, possibly because terrestrial foods were more difficult to acquire. Interpreting the childhood diet is challenging due to the paucity of ethnohistoric literature on Fijian childhood; small meals outside of communal mealtimes or feeding children terrestrial animal protein as a means of cultural buffering are potential explanations. Am J Phys Anthropol 159:478-495, 2016.

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