Session: #456

Theme & Session Format

1. Widening horizons through human-environment interconnections
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

From Contemporary Knowns to Past Unknowns - Unlocking Ancient Human-Environment Interconnections via Modern Isotopic Records
Isotopic analyses of ancient human and faunal skeletal remains has flourished over the past decade, providing new insights into how people (and animals) moved across the landscape, exploited food resources, and interacted with new environments and changing climates. However, the interpretation of stable and radiogenic isotopic data gleaned from ancient remains relies on an established understanding of the mechanics that drive isotopic variation in water, soil, plant and animal communities demonstrated in diverse ecological settings, metabolic and physiological conditions, and sample materials. This session aims to bring together isotope practitioners that explore how isotopic data from modern contexts with known/controlled conditions can help to better understand mobility, dietary intake as well as animal and agricultural management practices in the past.

More specifically this could include the following topics, but is not limited to:
• nitrogen and carbon isotopic studies of modern plant and soil systems to better understand environmental and cultural variables such as manuring, tillage, cultivation, grazing, foddering, stocking rate;
• multi-isotopic studies of modern faunal materials with known history and their diet to better understand the effect of animal physiology and diet-tissue isotopic fractionation;
• multi-isotopic studies of modern environmental samples to create local and regional isoscapes to better understand the spatial distribution of isotopes and their relevance for humans and animals in the past.
stable and radiogenic isotopes, modern isotopic records, mobility, diet, animal management strategies, agricultural management strategies
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
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Session associated with DGUF:
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Main organiser:
Christine Winter-Schuh (Germany) 1
Rebekka Eckelmann (Finland) 2,3
1. Institut für Ur- und Fruehgeschichte, University of Kiel
2. Department of Cultures, Archaeology
3. University of Helsinki