An Analsysis of Hunter-Gatherer Territoriality and Post-Marital Residence Patterns in the Late Archaic Texas Coastal Plain Using Strontium Radiogenic Isotopes (87Sr/86Sr)

Date

2020

Authors

Solis, Kristina

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Abstract

Radiogenic strontium isotope (87Sr/86Sr) analysis is a popular tool for studying prehistoric human mobility and can also be used to distinguish between subgroups of a population. Archaeological applications of 87Sr/86Sr analysis are based on the principle that Sr isotopes vary geographically and this variation is based on the composition of geologic bedrock. The dissertation project here is focused on a Late Archaic hunter-gatherer mortuary site in the Texas Coastal Plain (TCP), Loma Sandia. This dissertation has three goals 1) To evaluate the utility of using modern artiodactyls as a representation of bioavailable 87Sr/86Sr values for constructing baselines for studying mobility in prehistoric hunter-gatherer populations; 2) To provide an archaeological assessment of land tenure and territoriality in the Late Archaic TCP by comparing bioavailable to human 87Sr/86Sr; 3) To assess if patrilocal post-marital patterns seen in the Late Prehistoric were also practiced in the Late Archaic. To meet the goals of this project 103 faunal samples from five geologic zones in the TCP and 54 human samples from Loma Sandia were analyzed for 87Sr/86Sr. Results of the bioavailable 87Sr/86Sr portion of this project determined that there was an association between geologic bedrock and the bioavailable 87Sr/86Sr results obtained from artiodactyl and these results, while not as clear-cut as originally anticipated, are sufficient for use in human mobility studies. Human samples showed low 87Sr/86Sr variability and likely had restricted home ranges, an indication of territoriality. Finally, evidence did not support patrilocality at Loma Sandia during the Late Archaic.

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Keywords

Hunter-Gatherer, Post-Marital Residence, Strontium, Territorality, Texas, Radiogenic strontium isotope

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Department

Anthropology