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Studying Hunter-Gatherer Mobility Using Isotopic and Trace Elemental Analysis

  • Author / Creator
    Fraser-Shapiro, Ian
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2012-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R39W44
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Department of Anthropology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Weber, Andrzej (Anthropology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Price, T. Douglas (Archaeological Chemistry)
    • Froese, Duane (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
    • Ives, John (Anthropology)
    • Losey, Robert (Anthropology)
    • Garvie-Lok, Sandra (Anthropology)