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Many exotic animal species were introduced to Northern Europe during the Roman period, including fallow deer (Dama dama). To date, however, finds of fallow deer bones at archaeological sites in this region have been sporadic and disarticulated, leaving uncertainty over their origins. This article presents the first known articulated fallow deer skeleton from Roman North-western Europe. Osteological, ancient DNA, radiocarbon dating and stable isotope analyses confirm that the species was established in this region by the Roman period, probably originating from translocated, rather than native, Mediterranean populations. Clarifying the origins of fallow deer in North-western Europe is critical for understanding the dynamics of species exchange around the Roman Empire.
Stable isotopes of mammoths and mastodons have the potential to illuminate ecological changes in late Pleistocene landscapes and megafaunal populations as these species approached extinction. The ecological factors at play in this extinction remain unresolved, but isotopes of bone collagen (δ13C, δ15N) and tooth enamel (δ13C, δ18O, 87Sr/86Sr) from midwestern North America are leveraged to examine ecological and behavioral changes that occurred during the last interglacial-glacial cycle. Both species had significant C3 contributions to their diets and experienced increasing levels of niche overlap as they approached extinction. A subset of mastodons after the last glacial maximum exhibit low δ15N values that may represent expansion into a novel ecological niche, perhaps densely occupied by other herbivores. Stable isotopes from serial and microsampled enamel show increasing seasonality and decreasing temperatures as mammoths transitioned from Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5e to glacial conditions (MIS 4, MIS 3, MIS 2). Isotopic variability in enamel suggests mobility patterns and life histories have potentially large impacts on the interpretation of their stable isotope ecology. This study further refines the ecology of midwestern mammoths and mastodons demonstrating increasing seasonality and niche overlap as they responded to landscape changes in the final millennia before extinction.
The studied seep carbonates from Tsushima, Japan, are embedded within marine siliciclastics of the lower Miocene Taishu Group and represent the earliest evidence of hydrocarbon seepage in the Sea of Japan. In contrast to Miocene and Pliocene examples from Honshu, which are often found above anticlines, the seeps from Tsushima formed within a pull-apart basin before major anticlines had formed. The three carbonates from Fukuzaki, Kanoura and Tanohama are composed chiefly of calcite, with significant admixture of ankerite only at Kanoura. The stable carbon isotope composition of calcites (δ13C as low as −40.2 ‰ VPDB for Fukuzaki, −41.8 ‰ VPDB for Kanoura, and −52.8 ‰ VPDB for Tanohama) indicate methanogenic origin of the carbonates. Textures of these deposits, including radiaxial and yellow cements, are indicative of formation at a methane seep. The stable oxygen isotope composition of calcites (δ18O values as low as −14.4 ‰ VPDB for Fukuzaki, −14.5 ‰ VPDB for Kanoura and −13.9 ‰ VPDB for Tanohama) indicate that they were influenced by burial fluids. Burial diagenesis is also indicated by the stable isotopic compositions of ankerite (δ13C ranging from −19.1 ‰ to −7.1 ‰ VPDB, δ18O from −11.1 ‰ to −9.7 ‰ VPDB). Molecular fossils from Tanohama comprise n-alkanes with short-chain predominance, interpreted to have formed due to thermal cracking of organic matter. The carbonates yield a chemosynthesis-based community comprising vesicomyids Pleurophopsis chitanii, P. cf. hamuroi, the bathymodiolin ‘Bathymodiolus’ akanudaensis, the lucinid Lucinoma sp. and the provannid Provanna? sp., which have never been hitherto identified. ‘Bathymodiolus’ akanudaensis, Lucinoma sp. and Provanna? sp. are the oldest records of these taxa in the Sea of Japan.
Limited numbers of high-resolution records predate the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) making it difficult to quantify the impacts of environmental changes prior to peak glaciation. We examined sediments from Last Canyon Cave in the Pryor Mountains of Montana and Wyoming to construct a >45 ka environmental record from pollen and stable isotope analysis. Artemisia pollen was hyper-abundant at the beginning of the record. Carbon isotope values of bulk organic matter (>40 ka) showed little variation (-25.3 ± 0.4‰) and were consistent with a arid C3 environment, similar to today. After 40 cal ka BP, Artemisia pollen decreased as herbaceous taxa increased toward the LGM. A significant decrease in δ13C values from 40–30 cal ka BP (~1.0‰) established a new baseline (-26.6 ± 0.2‰), suggesting cooler, seasonally wetter conditions prior to the LGM. These conditions persisted until variation in δ13C values increased significantly with post-glacial warming, marked by two spikes in values at 14.4 (-25.2‰) and 13.5 cal ka BP (-25.4‰) before δ13C values dropped to their lowest values (-26.9 ± 0.2‰) at the onset of the Younger Dryas (12.8 ka). These results provide insights into late Pleistocene conditions and ecological change in arid intermontane basins of the Rocky Mountains.
The SC-3 speleothem from Szczelina Chochołowska Cave, located in the Tatra Mountains, was studied in detail. U-series dating and age–depth modeling allowed us to constrain the period of speleothem growth to between approximately 330 and 200 ka, that is, during Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 9–7. The complementary use of stable isotope analyses, petrographic studies, and trace element analyses allowed the identification of warm and wet climatic conditions that were favorable for speleothem growth during MIS 9e and MIS 9c. Unfavorable climatic periods included the cold glacial conditions of MIS 8 and the MIS 9/MIS 8 transition. The breaks in the growth of the SC-3 stalagmite were most likely connected with a reduction in precipitation in MIS 9a and extreme hydrologic events during MIS 8. Comparisons with other European records suggest that the climatic variability recorded in the speleothem from the Tatra Mountains is not only a record of local environmental conditions but can also be linked to European climatic patterns during both interglacial and glacial intervals. This makes our study the northernmost paleoclimatic record for the whole Carpathian range and one of the very few records from those periods worldwide.
Recent archaeological excavations on Rakahanga Atoll, Northern Cook Islands, produced one of the earliest examples of dog (Canis familiaris) remains found on East Polynesian atolls. Direct dating of these and other Pacific Island fauna by AMS is complicated by a number of factors. (1) The animals’ diets may consist of marine and terrestrial protein. (2) Marine 14C is itself a mix of carbon pools with localized offsets that vary over time and space. (3) The region is potentially impacted by inter-hemispheric mixing of atmospheric 14C. Stable isotope analysis of gelatin extracted from dog teeth was used to estimate marine/terrestrial dietary components and paired terrestrial and marine samples were used to constrain local atmospheric and marine carbon offsets. The dates were modeled as a phase in a Bayesian chronological framework using mixed calibration curves. The resulting models confirm the presence of dogs on Rakahanga shortly after the initial colonization of the region and suggest that dogs were among the species that accompanied voyagers as they discovered and settled new islands. These methods can be applied to accurately date any marine-influenced terrestrial vertebrate remains in Remote Oceania.
We combine the results of a radiocarbon (14C) dating program with archaeogenetic, osteological and sparse stratigraphic data, to construct a Bayesian chronological model for a multi-generational sequence situated entirely on a plateau in the 14C calibration curve. Calibrated dates of individual human bones from the Late Neolithic gallery grave at Niedertiefenbach, Hesse, Germany, span the entire calibration plateau in the late 4th millennium (ca. 3350–3100/3000 cal BC), but our model restricts the overall period of burial to 3–6 generations centered on the later 3200s, and provides narrower absolute date ranges for specific individuals and associated events. We confirm the accuracy and robustness of this model by sensitivity tests of each of its components. Beyond providing a more dynamic narrative for the formation of the heterogenous burial population at Niedertiefenbach, our results show that calibration plateaus are suitable periods for Bayesian chronological modeling of even relatively brief sequences, provided that all the information employed is correct. Prior information constraining both the order of events, and of potential date differences between them, is essential for the model to give accurate, unimodal estimates of the dates of these events.
Flood and drought events cause significant freshwater inflow fluctuations in estuaries, potentially leading to physiological stress and altered abundances of pathogens such as Vibrio vulnificus and Perkinsus marinus in oysters. To assess the effects of freshwater pulses to oyster reefs in subtropical estuaries in Texas, this study accomplished two goals: 1) reconstructed a reef-specific history of freshwater pulses through shell stable isotope analysis, 2) quantified the abundance of V. vulnificus and P. marinus through culture-dependent and culture-independent microbiology analyses. Oysters from a natural and restored reef experienced similar fluctuations in shell isotopes, indicating similar ranges of past environmental conditions. V. vulnificus and P. marinus were detected throughout the study but the abundance of these microorganisms was not correlated with environmental parameters or one another. Importantly, the P. marinus infection intensity was always lower at the restored reef, which suggests that restored reefs may experience lower infection frequencies.
Given the nature of medieval artifacts and resulting research requirements, a precise temporal classification is essential. It is especially important for the purposes of medieval archaeology in interpreting archaeological finds/finding situations and identifying them with a historical events or figures, for example, to identify skeletal remains of a known historical figure or to establish a chronological sequence of various cultural and architectural changes within an area. Due to the fact that the uncertainties of radiocarbon (14C) analyses have been decreasing in recent years, the applicability of 14C dating for such purposes is now growing. In this work, we aim to demonstrate the current possibilities of the use of AMS 14C analyses on specific cases and confront the results with other available data. 14C data from skeletal remains of members of the oldest Czech ruling dynasty of the Přemyslids (about 880–1306 AD) were obtained in recent years. Archaeological research conducted in the three oldest churches in the Prague Castle discovered skeletal remains of three members of the second, two members of the fourth and two members of the fifth generation. This case study of the application of 14C data has three parts: i) identification of excavated individuals; ii) demonstration of the application using current AMS-based analysis of 14C on medieval osteological material and tests of our preparation method; iii) contributing to discussion and consulting with other problematical 14C age alteration influenced by diet, age of bone collagen or seasonal variation of 14C activity. The obtained results and the issues arising from them clearly highlight the necessity of a multidisciplinary cooperation in this type of study.
The Neolithic to Bronze Age transition (c. 5000–3500 BP) saw dramatic socio-economic developments in ancient China. Complex polities emerged in many regions, only to decline and collapse by the end of the period. In the Central Plains area, however, these centuries laid the foundations for China's first dynasties. This article presents zooarchaeological, palaeobotanical and isotopic research from key sites of the Central Plains spanning the period c. 5000–3500 BP. The results demonstrate that, contrary to narratives of the climate-induced collapse of these polities, Central Plains agricultural regimes intensified and diversified during the Neolithic to Bronze Age transition.
Lake sediments are key archives for paleoenvironmental investigation as they provide continuous records of the depositional history of the lake and its watershed. Lake Futalaufquen (42.8°S) is an oligotrophic waterbody located in Los Alerces National Park in the Andes of northern Patagonia, South America. A sedimentary sequence covering 1600 years was recovered to analyze the potential for paleoenvironmental reconstructions of the last millennia. Integration of different geochemical and mineralogical parameters and comparison with climatic reconstructions from other Patagonian records give clues for the identification of a warm period around AD 800–1000, associated with the Medieval Climatic Anomaly. The high frequency of tephra layers beginning in the mid-sixteenth century precludes identification of the Little Ice Age, recorded in northern Patagonia as a cold period from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century. Furthermore, the parameters analysed do not provide evidence of late-twentieth-century global warming. However, Zn deposition, a long-distance atmospheric transport process of anthropogenic origin, was identified during the last century.
Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) have been surveyed for at least two decades on the southern Brazilian coast. However, little is known about their distribution and habitat use in lower latitudes of the South-western Atlantic Ocean. Aiming to study the movements and distribution of the species along the south-eastern Brazilian coast, we made a comparison of photo-identified individuals of the species catalogued in 21 cruises conducted between 2012 and 2015. Additionally, we performed stable isotope analyses of carbon and nitrogen in skin samples (N = 35) to provide some insights of dolphin habitat use and trophic ecology through comparisons among individuals of distinct surveyed sectors (northern and southern) and sex. A total of 177 individuals were identified. Re-sightings (N = 24) occurred at intervals from 82 to 979 days at distances from 7 to 179 km. No individual was sighted in both sectors, suggesting spatial segregation. Isotopic comparisons showed no significant differences in carbon and nitrogen signatures between distinct sectors. However, ecological divergences were found when we divided the samples by gender. Wider isotopic niches were found for the northern bottlenose dolphins vs the southern ones, which could be related to temporal and spatial variation in the availability of resources, as well as possible differences in the home ranges of males and females in each region. This study represents a preliminary evaluation of ecological aspects of bottlenose dolphins along the Brazilian south-eastern coast, however, long-term studies on the feeding ecology and habitat use of this species are important to further improve our knowledge.
This study verifies the food assimilation of a carnivorous teleost in different timescales (weeks vs months) and evaluates how it uses the food sources. The target species is the adult ribbonfish, Trichiurus lepturus, a voracious teleost caught in commercial fisheries off south-east Brazil (21°S–22°S). The isotope models indicated Chirocentrodon bleekerianus as the main food in the ribbonfish diet in the last weeks (liver: 38.5%; 95% credible intervals: 3.4–73.9%) and last months (muscle: 36.2%; 95% credible intervals: 3.4–68.7%). The contribution of other food sources ranges from 10–16% (liver) and from 10–20% (muscle). Food assimilation remains similar at different timescales. The isotope models suggested a strong and long-lasting association of the adult females of ribbonfish with coastal waters along the study area.
Decorated ostrich eggs were traded around the Mediterranean during the Bronze and Iron Ages. Research on their origins has focused primarily on decorative techniques and iconography to characterise the producers, workshops and trade routes, thereby equating decorative styles with cultural identities and geographic locations. This is problematic, as craftspeople were mobile and worked in the service of foreign royal patrons. The present study investigates the provenance of ancient ostrich eggs, reconsiders trade patterns via isotopic indicators and characterises decorative techniques in order to assist in the identification of culturally distinct decorative styles or regional preferences.
Micropaleontological and geochemical data were applied to sediments from southeastern Brazil to study the hydrodynamics associated with the Holocene sea level rise. Sediment cores were taken around Vitória Bay, examined for dinoflagellate cysts and subjected to isotopic analysis. The cyst assemblage mainly dominated by autotrophic species most notably O. centrocarpum, L. machaerophorum and T. vancampoae. The influence of the marine transgression and subsequent regression observed during the Holocene along the coast of Brazil could have initially favored the establishment of an oligotrophic and higher energy environment. The inflow of continental water from tributaries combined with a higher inflow of saline water into the estuarine system could have favored the establishment and subsequent deposition of the dinocysts.
The stable isotope ratios of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) and total mercury concentrations (THg) of the three marine catfish species Aspistor luniscutis, Bagre bagre and Genidens genidens were evaluated to understand their trophic relationship in northern Rio de Janeiro state, south-eastern Brazil. The δ13C was similar among the three marine catfishes, whereas δ15N was similar in A. luniscutis and B. bagre and lower in G. genidens. THg was higher in G. genidens and lower in B. bagre. The greater assimilation of Sciaenidae fishes and squids by A. luniscutis and B. bagre resulted in smaller isotopic niche areas and trophic diversity but higher isotopic niche overlap, trophic redundancy and evenness. For G. genidens, the similar assimilation of all prey items resulted in the broadest isotopic niche among the marine catfishes. The higher mercury content in G. genidens is consistent with an increased important contribution of prey with a higher Hg burden. The bioaccumulation process was indicated by significant correlations of δ15N and THg with total length and total mass. Additionally, a significant correlation between THg and δ15N reflected the biomagnification process through the food web.
El objetivo de este trabajo es evaluar, a través del estudio de isótopos estables (δ13Cap, δ13Ccol y δ15N), paleodietas y patrones de subsistencia en grupos cazadores-recolectores de la transición pampeano-patagónica oriental (Argentina) durante el Holoceno medio-tardío (ca. 6000–250 aP). Se analizaron 44 individuos adultos de ambos sexos. Los resultados indican que durante el Holoceno medio los herbívoros terrestres, peces marinos y, posiblemente, pinnípedos tuvieron un rol importante en la dieta. Sin embargo, hacia el Holoceno tardío se observó un predominio en el consumo de herbívoros terrestres y peces fluviales, con la consecuente disminución en la ingesta de recursos marinos. También se detectó una ingesta mayor de vegetales a partir de aproximadamente 1000 aP. Durante el Holoceno medio y, probablemente, el Holoceno tardío inicial se registró una tendencia en la distribución espacial de los valores de isótopos estables, ya que los individuos enterrados hasta una distancia de aproximadamente 20 km de la costa presentan dietas marinas y mixtas, mientras que aquellos localizados a una distancia mayor (hasta ca. 130 km) se caracterizan por dietas terrestres. Estas diferencias podrían estar relacionadas con rangos de acción acotados o una demarcación del espacio que pudo involucrar comportamientos territoriales. Los cambios en la dieta a través del tiempo se asemejan a los reportados para el sudeste de Pampa Húmeda, ya que se observa una tendencia hacia una dieta más continental durante el Holoceno tardío.
In this paper we present data from the measurements of carbon isotopes (Δ14C and δ13C) from α-cellulose extracted from pine tree-rings. The samples were collected in four forests located in the most industrialized part of Poland, where coal mining and coal-based energy are an important branch of industry. The investigated period of time (1975–2012) covers the period of development in coal mining and other industry sectors. Stable isotope composition has been determined with using IRMS and radiocarbon concentration was determinate by AMS.
Un trabajo de rescate arqueológico en la cuenca alta del Río Loa (norte de Chile) resultó en el hallazgo de una inhumación prehispánica de un infante asociado a variados atavíos y ofrendas, junto a los restos óseos parciales de una adolescente. Ambos individuos fueron sometidos a análisis de isótopos estables para establecer paleodieta (δ13C y δ15N) y movilidad (δ18O y 87Sr/86Sr). Además, se efectuaron dataciones radiocarbónicas pareadas de los restos bioantropológicos y culturales con el fin establecer la cronología de la inhumación y, a la vez, evaluar la existencia de un posible efecto reservorio marino. Los resultados isotópicos sugieren consumo de dieta principalmente terrestre y un origen local para los individuos, aunque con una ingesta moderada de recursos marinos. Los fechados radiocarbónicos presentan una inesperada diferencia entre las edades de las ofrendas y los restos humanos, indicando la existencia de un importante efecto reservorio. Dichos resultados dan nuevas luces sobre el consumo de alimentos marinos durante el Formativo temprano en la región, a la vez que permiten ejemplificar los alcances de efectuar dataciones pareadas de restos humanos y culturales.
We have analysed a 6100-year record of benthic and planktonic foraminifera from inner neritic sediments from Core SK291/GC13, off the Goa coast, eastern Arabian Sea, to understand the response of benthic foraminifera to shallow-marine processes. The benthic foraminiferal assemblage is dominated by Nonion cf. asterizans, Ammonia beccarii, A. gaimardii and Virgulinella fragilis, which have been selected on the basis of a population of 10% or more in any three samples analysed. The planktonic foraminiferal population is sporadic and rare, with Globigerinoides ruber as the predominant species showing a variable trend. The foraminiferal proxies combined with total organic carbon (wt%) and δ13C and δ18O values of Ammonia gaimardii suggest distinct variations, indicating changes in productivity and salinity in the shallow eastern Arabian Sea. The coastal waters off Goa were relatively warmer and less saline between 6100 and 4600, or perhaps to 4200, calibrated years before the present (cal yr BP), corresponding to a stronger monsoon in South and East Asia. The shallow sea was cooler from ~4200 to 2600 cal yr BP in the study area, coinciding with a lower sea surface temperature in the northeastern Arabian Sea and an arid phase in the Indian subcontinent. From 2900 to 2600 cal yr BP the study core exhibits the impacts of short-term cold events, which have earlier been observed in the northeastern Arabian Sea, off Pakistan. During the Little Ice Age, the shallow sea off Goa was less productive.