Dog-human dietary relationships in Yup'ik western Alaska: The stable isotope and zooarchaeological evidence from pre-contact Nunalleq

Ellen McManus-Fry (Corresponding Author), Richard Knecht, Keith Dobney, Michael P. Richards, Kate Britton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Historically and ethnographically dogs have been an important resource for Arctic and subarctic societies — providing protection, fur and meat, as well as aiding hunting and transportation. The close relationship between dogs and humans has also been used by archaeologists to draw inferences about human society (particularly in terms of diet and subsistence) from various analyses of their remains. Here, we apply the complementary approaches of stable isotope and zooarchaeological analysis to dog remains from the permafrost-preserved, pre-contact Yup'ik village site of Nunalleq (c. CE 1300–1750), in coastal western Alaska, specifically to investigate dog-human dietary relationships and the role that dogs played in this community. Zooarchaeological data indicate an abundance of dogs at the site, with butchery marks suggesting that they were processed for meat. Stable isotope analysis of multiple tissues indicates dog diet was largely based on fish (particularly salmonids), with possible short-term increases in marine mammal consumption. Comparison with data from contemporaneous human hair from Nunalleq indicates a close similarity between human and dog diets, supporting the use of dogs as a proxy for human palaeodiet in societies at high-latitude societies consuming significant amounts of animal protein.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)964 - 972
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Volume17
Early online date29 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018

Fingerprint

contact
society
evidence
Arctic
village
animal
resources
community
Dog
Pre-contact
Western Alaska
Stable Isotopes
Society
Diet

Keywords

  • dog
  • carbon
  • nitrogen
  • Alaska
  • palaeodiet
  • prehistory
  • Yup'ik

Cite this

Dog-human dietary relationships in Yup'ik western Alaska : The stable isotope and zooarchaeological evidence from pre-contact Nunalleq. / McManus-Fry, Ellen (Corresponding Author); Knecht, Richard; Dobney, Keith; Richards, Michael P.; Britton, Kate.

In: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Vol. 17, 02.2018, p. 964 - 972.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{dc2ccbb02a6347d29ed8a06028104ce0,
title = "Dog-human dietary relationships in Yup'ik western Alaska: The stable isotope and zooarchaeological evidence from pre-contact Nunalleq",
abstract = "Historically and ethnographically dogs have been an important resource for Arctic and subarctic societies — providing protection, fur and meat, as well as aiding hunting and transportation. The close relationship between dogs and humans has also been used by archaeologists to draw inferences about human society (particularly in terms of diet and subsistence) from various analyses of their remains. Here, we apply the complementary approaches of stable isotope and zooarchaeological analysis to dog remains from the permafrost-preserved, pre-contact Yup'ik village site of Nunalleq (c. CE 1300–1750), in coastal western Alaska, specifically to investigate dog-human dietary relationships and the role that dogs played in this community. Zooarchaeological data indicate an abundance of dogs at the site, with butchery marks suggesting that they were processed for meat. Stable isotope analysis of multiple tissues indicates dog diet was largely based on fish (particularly salmonids), with possible short-term increases in marine mammal consumption. Comparison with data from contemporaneous human hair from Nunalleq indicates a close similarity between human and dog diets, supporting the use of dogs as a proxy for human palaeodiet in societies at high-latitude societies consuming significant amounts of animal protein.",
keywords = "dog, carbon, nitrogen, Alaska, palaeodiet, prehistory, Yup'ik",
author = "Ellen McManus-Fry and Richard Knecht and Keith Dobney and Richards, {Michael P.} and Kate Britton",
note = "Acknowledgements This work was funded by a PhD studentship to EM from the Natural Environment Research Council (2210 GG005 RGA1521) and an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AH/K006029/1) grant to RK, KB and Charlotta Hillerdal (Aberdeen). Material was excavated from Nunalleq by staff and students from the University of Aberdeen, volunteer excavators and residents of Quinhagak. Logistical and planning support for the excavation was provided by Qanirtuuq Incorporated, Quinhagak, and the residents of Quinhagak.",
year = "2018",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.04.007",
language = "English",
volume = "17",
pages = "964 -- 972",
journal = "Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports",
issn = "2352-409X",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Dog-human dietary relationships in Yup'ik western Alaska

T2 - The stable isotope and zooarchaeological evidence from pre-contact Nunalleq

AU - McManus-Fry, Ellen

AU - Knecht, Richard

AU - Dobney, Keith

AU - Richards, Michael P.

AU - Britton, Kate

N1 - Acknowledgements This work was funded by a PhD studentship to EM from the Natural Environment Research Council (2210 GG005 RGA1521) and an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AH/K006029/1) grant to RK, KB and Charlotta Hillerdal (Aberdeen). Material was excavated from Nunalleq by staff and students from the University of Aberdeen, volunteer excavators and residents of Quinhagak. Logistical and planning support for the excavation was provided by Qanirtuuq Incorporated, Quinhagak, and the residents of Quinhagak.

PY - 2018/2

Y1 - 2018/2

N2 - Historically and ethnographically dogs have been an important resource for Arctic and subarctic societies — providing protection, fur and meat, as well as aiding hunting and transportation. The close relationship between dogs and humans has also been used by archaeologists to draw inferences about human society (particularly in terms of diet and subsistence) from various analyses of their remains. Here, we apply the complementary approaches of stable isotope and zooarchaeological analysis to dog remains from the permafrost-preserved, pre-contact Yup'ik village site of Nunalleq (c. CE 1300–1750), in coastal western Alaska, specifically to investigate dog-human dietary relationships and the role that dogs played in this community. Zooarchaeological data indicate an abundance of dogs at the site, with butchery marks suggesting that they were processed for meat. Stable isotope analysis of multiple tissues indicates dog diet was largely based on fish (particularly salmonids), with possible short-term increases in marine mammal consumption. Comparison with data from contemporaneous human hair from Nunalleq indicates a close similarity between human and dog diets, supporting the use of dogs as a proxy for human palaeodiet in societies at high-latitude societies consuming significant amounts of animal protein.

AB - Historically and ethnographically dogs have been an important resource for Arctic and subarctic societies — providing protection, fur and meat, as well as aiding hunting and transportation. The close relationship between dogs and humans has also been used by archaeologists to draw inferences about human society (particularly in terms of diet and subsistence) from various analyses of their remains. Here, we apply the complementary approaches of stable isotope and zooarchaeological analysis to dog remains from the permafrost-preserved, pre-contact Yup'ik village site of Nunalleq (c. CE 1300–1750), in coastal western Alaska, specifically to investigate dog-human dietary relationships and the role that dogs played in this community. Zooarchaeological data indicate an abundance of dogs at the site, with butchery marks suggesting that they were processed for meat. Stable isotope analysis of multiple tissues indicates dog diet was largely based on fish (particularly salmonids), with possible short-term increases in marine mammal consumption. Comparison with data from contemporaneous human hair from Nunalleq indicates a close similarity between human and dog diets, supporting the use of dogs as a proxy for human palaeodiet in societies at high-latitude societies consuming significant amounts of animal protein.

KW - dog

KW - carbon

KW - nitrogen

KW - Alaska

KW - palaeodiet

KW - prehistory

KW - Yup'ik

U2 - 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.04.007

DO - 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.04.007

M3 - Article

VL - 17

SP - 964

EP - 972

JO - Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports

JF - Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports

SN - 2352-409X

ER -