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Diet and sulfur isotopes

Rand, Asta J. and Nehlich, Olaf 2018. Diet and sulfur isotopes. Lopez Varela, Sandra L., ed. The Encyclopedia of Archeological Sciences, Wiley-Blackwell, (10.1002/9781119188230.saseas0186)

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The analysis of stable sulfur isotopes from human and animal tissues is a relatively recent development in archaeological dietary studies. In human diets, sulfur is ultimately derived from soils at the base of the food chain, which are influenced by local lithology, hydrology, and atmospheric circulation. Plants assimilate local soil δ34S values into amino acids that are incorporated into the tissues of their consumers, making it possible to differentiate the source of dietary protein (i.e., marine, terrestrial, or freshwater) and identify individuals with nonlocal diets. Recent developments in method and theory have allowed sulfur isotope analysis to be more routinely employed in isotopic studies of archaeological diet, although several key areas require further research. When applied in conjunction with other isotopic assays and interpreted within the environmental and archaeological contexts, stable sulfur isotope analysis offers a powerful and complementary tool for the investigation of archaeological diets.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISBN: 9780470674611
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 August 2023
Date of Acceptance: 19 October 2017
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2023 16:45

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