Moving peoples, changing diets: Isotopic differences highlight migration and subsistence changes in the Upper Mun River Valley, Thailand

Charlotte L. King, R. Alexander Bentley, Nancy G. Tayles, Una Strand-Vidarsdottir, Geoff M Nowell, Colin G. Macpherson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Diet is an important aspect of any society. It reflects complex, inter-linked factors such as status or cultural preference often, within environmental constraints on food production. Studying past diet can, therefore, give the archaeologist new insight into the nature of society. In this study we examine the skeletal remains from Ban Non Wat, northeast Thailand, using dietary isotope analysis in order to better understand patterns of migration and subsistence strategy during prehistory. This site is the most comprehensively excavated in the Upper Mun River Valley, and understanding of prehistoric society here is crucial to answering questions of how social complexity arose in the area. Carbon isotope analysis has highlighted migrant individuals invisible to strontium isotope analysis and shown links between unusual burial practice and differences in diet. We also find that diet changes substantially through time, with more reliance on rice in the Bronze Age, correlated with an increase in social differentiation. There is a move away from reliance on rice agriculture in the Iron Age, a time when oxygen isotopes show that environmental conditions were becoming drier, possibly resulting in rice agriculture becoming less viable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1681-1688
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume40
Issue number4
Early online date7 Dec 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Moving peoples, changing diets: Isotopic differences highlight migration and subsistence changes in the Upper Mun River Valley, Thailand'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this