Strontium isotopes and the study of human mobility in ancient Mesoamerica

T. Douglas Price, James H. Burton, Paul D. Fullagar, Lori E. Wright, Jane Buikstra, Vera Tiesler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We analyzed strontium isotopes in more than 500 samples of shell, bone, and dental enamel from modern and archaeological contexts throughout Mesoamerica. The results correspond closely with expectations based upon the local geology and earlier measurements of geological materials. The results show that isotopic variation is significant across Mesoamerica. Thus strontium isotope ratios in dental enamel, which mark the place of childhood residence, can be used not only to document mobility but also in some cases to determine geographic origin. We present five archaeological case studies to illustrate the anthropological significance and range of applications for this technique: the origins of individuals in the "Oaxaca Barrio" at Teotihuacan, a northern origin for the founder of Copan, a local king at Tikal, the regional origin of two of Palenque's rulers, and individuals of African birth in a colonial cemetery in Campeche.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-180
Number of pages14
JournalLatin American Antiquity
Volume19
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008

Fingerprint

regional origin
cemetery
childhood
Enamel
Human Mobility
Mesoamerica
Strontium Isotopes
Ruler
Colonies
Teotihuacan
Africa
Shell
Childhood
Archaeology
Barrio
Oaxaca
Copan
Palenque
Residence
Cemetery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • History

Cite this

Price, T. D., Burton, J. H., Fullagar, P. D., Wright, L. E., Buikstra, J., & Tiesler, V. (2008). Strontium isotopes and the study of human mobility in ancient Mesoamerica. Latin American Antiquity, 19(2), 167-180.

Strontium isotopes and the study of human mobility in ancient Mesoamerica. / Price, T. Douglas; Burton, James H.; Fullagar, Paul D.; Wright, Lori E.; Buikstra, Jane; Tiesler, Vera.

In: Latin American Antiquity, Vol. 19, No. 2, 06.2008, p. 167-180.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Price, TD, Burton, JH, Fullagar, PD, Wright, LE, Buikstra, J & Tiesler, V 2008, 'Strontium isotopes and the study of human mobility in ancient Mesoamerica', Latin American Antiquity, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 167-180.
Price TD, Burton JH, Fullagar PD, Wright LE, Buikstra J, Tiesler V. Strontium isotopes and the study of human mobility in ancient Mesoamerica. Latin American Antiquity. 2008 Jun;19(2):167-180.
Price, T. Douglas ; Burton, James H. ; Fullagar, Paul D. ; Wright, Lori E. ; Buikstra, Jane ; Tiesler, Vera. / Strontium isotopes and the study of human mobility in ancient Mesoamerica. In: Latin American Antiquity. 2008 ; Vol. 19, No. 2. pp. 167-180.
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