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Ref ID: 34509
Ref Type: Journal Article
Authors: Sealy, Judith C.
van der Merwe, Nikolaas, J.
Title: On "approaches to dietary reconstruction in the Western Cape: are you what you have eaten?" - A reply to Parkington
Date: 1992
Source: Journal of Archaeological Science
Abstract: The extent of marine food consumption and, by implication, coastal residence among Holocene hunter-gatherers in the south-western Cape of South Africa remains contentious. Recently, a critique of our interpretation based on 13C/12C results was published in this journal. We address these criticisms, remedying confusion over geography and chronology. Complicated metabolic factors likely to influence the isotopic composition of bone remain problematic. Differences in 13C/12C between modern and archaeological animals are shown to be due largely to the effects of fossil fuels injected into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution, rather than to substantially different vegetation in the past. We believe that stable carbon isotope analyses provide a reliable record of marine food intake by prehistoric people in this area, and can be used in a relative way to distinguish individuals who ate greater or lesser quantities of such foods during their lifetimes.
Date Created: 7/5/2001
Volume: 19
Number: 4
Page Start: 459
Page End: 466