Reconstructing caribou seasonal biogeography in Little Ice Age (late Holocene) Western Alaska using intra-tooth strontium and oxygen isotope analysis

Ciara Ann Gigleux*, Vaughan Grimes, Thomas Tütken, Richard Knecht, Kate Britton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The palaeobiogeography of key prey-species can provide valuable insights into animal-human interactions, human subsistence activities and landscape use in the past. In many contemporary indigenous Arctic societies, caribou (Rangifer tarandus spp.) are an important seasonal subsistence species, and recent climatic shifts have influenced the seasonal and spatial distribution and migrations of herds. The impact of larger scale climatic change on this species, such as that experienced during the Little Ice Age (LIA), is not known, but may provide vital clues about future variability. Here we present sequential strontium (87Sr/86Sr) and oxygen (δ18OCO3) isotope data from archaeological caribou tooth enamel from Nunalleq, a 15th to 17th century AD pre-contact Yup’ik village site in Western Alaska, to reconstruct caribou movement patterns in this region during the LIA. The results of these analyses highlight variation in ranging habits over the period of time that the site was occupied, and indicate different ranging behaviours in the region in the past compared to modern herds in the area today. The isotopic data presented here complement the wealth of data derived from other research at Nunalleq, illuminating the influence of changing climatic conditions on prey-species palaeoecology and human-animal interactions at the site.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1043-1054
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Volume23
Early online date14 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • isotopes
  • enamel
  • rangifer
  • migration
  • ecology
  • climate
  • Climate
  • Enamel
  • Migration
  • Ecology
  • Rangifer
  • Isotopes
  • ENAMEL MINERALIZATION
  • HUNTING STRATEGIES
  • SHEEP HUSBANDRY
  • CLIMATE-CHANGE
  • BIRTH SEASONALITY
  • BIOLOGICALLY AVAILABLE STRONTIUM
  • STABLE-ISOTOPE
  • BONE PHOSPHATE
  • LATE PLEISTOCENE
  • RANGIFER-TARANDUS-CARIBOU

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

Cite this