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Temporal and spatial variability of prehistoric aquatic resource procurement: a case study from Mesolithic Northern Iberia

Abstract: Prehistoric shell middens hold valuable evidence of past human?environment interactions. In this study, we used carbon (?13C) and oxygen (?18O) stable isotopes of Mytilus galloprovincialis shells excavated from El Perro, La Fragua and La Chora, three Mesolithic middens in Cantabria, Northern Spain, to examine hunter-gatherer subsistence strategies in terms of seasonality and collection areas. Furthermore, we used shell ?18O to reconstruct water temperature during the early Holocene. Stable isotopes reveal a shellfish harvesting diversification trend represented by the gradual establishment of the upper estuaries as new procurement areas and an increase of harvesting mobility in both coastal and in-land sites. These innovations in subsistence strategies during the Mesolithic coincided with major changes in the surrounding environment as attested by the water temperature reconstructions based on ?18O and backed by several global and regional records. Overall, our results show that shell ?13C and ?18O stable isotopes have an underexplored potential as provenance proxies which stimulates their application to the archaeological record to further understand prehistoric human resource procurement and diet.

 Fuente: Scientific Reports, 2022, 12(1), 3111

 Editorial: Nature Publishing Group

 Año de publicación: 2022

 Nº de páginas: 9

 Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-07239-8

 ISSN: 2045-2322

 Proyecto español: HAR2016-75605-R

 Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-07239-8