Evaluating spatial and temporal variability in British Columbia human palaeodiet : a meta-analysis of existing and new stable isotope data

by Joseph Christophe Hepburn

Institution: University of British Columbia
Year: 2016
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2090465
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/57768


This study presents a meta-analysis of all available archaeological human carbon and nitrogen stable isotope data from British Columbia (BC). Overall, isotope signatures for the coast demonstrate a heavy marine specialization consistent with archaeological and ethnographic reconstructions of Northwest Coast diet. Within this marine specialization, the data for coastal BC demonstrate a high degree of regional dietary variability, although high trophic level marine prey species are of ubiquitous importance. No large-scale dietary shifts are present for the coast, with consistent carbon and nitrogen δ-values across the entire timespan represented. Notable outliers exist throughout the coast, with three individuals possessing fully terrestrial diets in regions with otherwise heavily marine diets. In the BC interior diets are much more variable, representing a range between purely terrestrial to mixed marine (anadromous fish) and terrestrial. Along salmon-bearing rivers, the apparent marine component of diet is positively correlated with downstream proximity to the ocean.