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CALAKMUL AS A CENTRAL PLACE: ISOTOPIC INSIGHTS ON URBAN MAYA MOBILITY AND DIET DURING THE FIRST MILLENNIUM AD

  • T. Douglas Price (a1), Vera Tiesler (a2), William J. Folan (a3) and Robert H. Tykot (a4)

Abstract

Isotopic investigations of human burials from excavations of the Autonomous University of Campeche (CIHS) at the prehispanic Maya capital of Calakmul in southeastern Mexico, near the border with Guatemala, include determination of radiocarbon dates; carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios in collagen; and strontium, carbon, and oxygen isotope ratios in tooth enamel. A total of 22 human and 5 faunal samples analyzed for strontium isotopes reveal a narrow range of variation in values, pointing to the likely local origin of over two-thirds of the central population of Calakmul, including two of its rulers. Carbon and nitrogen data confirm a typical Classic Maya diet at the site and identify a diet high in meat consumption for one dynastic individual. Interpreted jointly, the isotopic information offers new perspectives on the provenience and lifestyles of the residents of Calakmul, including a potential place of origin for the royal occupant of chamber tomb Burial VII-1.

Las investigaciones isotópicas de los entierros humanos recuperados en el centro regional Maya prehispánico de Calakmul, Mexico, durante las excavaciones a cargo del Centro de Investigaciones Históricas y Sociales de la Universidad Autónoma de Campeche incluyen fechas de radiocarbono y proporciones de isótopos de carbono y nitrógeno en colágeno, así como de isótopos de estroncio, carbono y oxígeno en esmalte dental. Se analizaron 22 muestras de restos humanos y 5 especímenes faunísticos. El análisis de los valores de isótopos de estroncio reveló un estrecho rango de variación, indicando el origen local de más de dos tercios de los residentes centrales de Calakmul. Los datos de carbono y nitrógeno confirman una dieta típica para una población maya al estar fuertemente basada en carbohidratos de plantas C4 (como lo son maíz y frijol). Solo un individuo, correspondiente a un dinasta, difiere de este patrón. En este caso, los valores indican una dieta alta en consumo de carne. La comparación regional de nuestros resultados proporciona nueva información sobre la procedencia y los estilos de vida de las poblaciones residentes de Calakmul, y sobre el posible lugar de origen de un dinasta que ocupó la cámara funeraria del entierro VII-1.

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CALAKMUL AS A CENTRAL PLACE: ISOTOPIC INSIGHTS ON URBAN MAYA MOBILITY AND DIET DURING THE FIRST MILLENNIUM AD

  • T. Douglas Price (a1), Vera Tiesler (a2), William J. Folan (a3) and Robert H. Tykot (a4)

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