«BULLETIN OF THE IRKUTSK STATE UNIVERSITY. GEOARCHAEOLOGY, ETHNOLOGY, AND ANTHROPOLOGY SERIES»
ISSN 2227-2380 (Print)

List of issues > «Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series». 2017. Vol. 21

Features of C and N Stable Isotopes Composition in the Collagen of Equus Ferus and Alces Americanus Teeth from the Archaeological Site Ust-Keul I (Northern Angara Region)

Author(s)
A. M. Khubanova, V. B. Khubanov, V. M. Novoseltseva, N. B. Sokolova, A. M. Klementiev, V. F. Posokhov
Abstract
The Ust-Keul I archaeological site is one of the complete Holocene cross sections of the Northern Angara region. We studied species composition of fauna and C-N isotope composition of Alces americanus and Equus ferus and reconstructed the paleoenvironmental conditions. The Ust-Keul I site contains 11 cultural horizons (c. h.) that date back to a wide range: 1–2 c. h. – 17–20th centuries AD, 3–4 c. h. – Early Iron Age, 5 c. h. – Bronze Age, 6 c. h. – Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, 7 c. h. – Middle Neolithic, 8 c. h. – Early Neolithic, 9–11 c. h. – Mesolithic. Fauna from 9–2 cultural horizons consists of boreal (taiga) species, from 11–10 c. h. – Pleistocene species. Extraction of teeth collagen made by Longin method. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios were measured on the mass spectrometer Finnigan 253 (GIN SB RAS). Samples were analyzed in accordance with international (USGS 40, IAEA-N-1) and in-lab standards (MCA-7, MCA-8). The error in determining δ13C and δ15N was ± 0.2 ‰. To assess the degree of collagen preservation we used the C/Nat ratio that should be in the range from 2.9 to 3.6. Meaning of δ13C (-21.57 ‰) and δ15N (5.62 ‰) of the Equus sp. collagen from 10 cultural horizon (10–11 BP) indicated that its diet had herbaceous plants with the C3 type of photosynthesis. Probably, a steppe and forest-steppe were presented in the Northern Angara region during the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene. In the later periods from Neolithic to present time the forest (taiga) landscape has been dominated in region. It was evidenced by the species composition of fauna from 2–9 cultural horizons: Moschus moschiferus, Lepus sp., Rangifer tarandus, Alces americanus, Capreolus pygargus, Cervus elaphus, Castor fiber, Ursus arctos, Martes zibellina. Meaning of δ13C (from -20.13 ‰ to -19.6 ‰) and δ15N (from 5.49‰ to 8.11 ‰) of Alces americanus supported that its diet was mosses, lichens, aquatic plants and mushrooms. And their proportion in the elks diet increased during Holocene climatic minima, characterized by relative cooling and humidification. These plants have been in the Northern Angara taiga and/or forest-tundra during Holocene.
Keywords
Northern Angara region, Holocene, archaeological complexes, C and N isotope composition, Alces americanus, Equus ferus
UDC
550.84551.87
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