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Studying Hunter-Gatherer Mobility Using Isotopic and Trace Elemental Analysis Open Access


Other title
Lake Baikal
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Fraser-Shapiro, Ian
Supervisor and department
Weber, Andrzej (Anthropology)
Examining committee member and department
Losey, Robert (Anthropology)
Ives, John (Anthropology)
Price, T. Douglas (Archaeological Chemistry)
Garvie-Lok, Sandra (Anthropology)
Froese, Duane (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Department of Anthropology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This research comprises a series of papers to address the methodology of studying hunter-gatherer mobility in prehistoric populations. As a laboratory for this research, middle Holocene hunter-gatherer groups from Cis-Baikal, Siberia were analyzed as part of ongoing research by the Baikal Archaeology Project. Paper no. 1 focuses on theoretical considerations of how researchers approach the concept of mobility with regard to hunter-gatherers along with regional background information and discussions on the specifics of using geochemical techniques to track human mobility in the archaeological record. Paper no. 2 presents the methodology to enable laser ablation ICP-MS analysis of teeth for strontium isotopic research with specific focus on correction procedures for known interferences encountered using laser ablation as a sampling method. The paper also presents groundwork for a new approach in trace element analysis of teeth for provenancing purposes. Paper no. 3 presents the technique of micro-sampling of skeletal materials for laser ablation with specific focus on long bones. The purpose of micro-sampling is to target bone micro-structures to access diagenetically resistant portions of the bones and to recover biogenic strontium isotopic and trace elemental data. Paper no. 4 presents the results of extensive regional geochemical mapping including plants, water sources and faunal remains throughout the Cis-Baikal region. Coupled with this map is an analysis of molars from 16 individuals recovered from small cemeteries distributed across the Cis-Baikal region. General characteristics of the geochemical environment and mobility patterns elucidated through further provenance analysis are discussed too. Finally, in paper no. 5, a summary of all new findings is presented along with the assessment of the methods employed in this research. As theoretical and analytical considerations intertwine, the resultant inferences can provide astounding revelations about prehistoric populations. For the middle Holocene hunter-gatherers of Lake Baikal, Siberia, this approach provides valuable new insights and research directions.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
A version of this chapter has been published. Scharlotta I, Weber A, Goriunova O I. 2011. Assessing hunter-gatherer mobility in Cis-Baikal, Siberia using LA-ICP-MS: Methodological correction for laser interactions with calcium phosphate matrices and the potential for integrated LA-ICP-MS sampling of archaeological skeletal materials. In Laser Ablation: Effects and Applications, S. E. Black, ed., Nova Publishers.

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