Lele Ren, Xin Li, Lihong Kang, Katherine Brunson, Honggao Liu, Weimiao Dong, Haiming Li, Rui Min, Xu Liu, Guanghui Dong
||PLoS ONE, 2017, Vol.12 (5)
||Directory of Open Access Journals
Reconstructing ancient diets and the use of animals and plants augment our understanding of how humans adapted to different environments. Yunnan Province in southwest China is ecologically and environmentally diverse. During the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods, this region was occupied by a variety of local culture groups with diverse subsistence systems and material culture. In this paper, we obtained carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotopic ratios from human and faunal remains in order to reconstruct human paleodiets and strategies for animal exploitation at the Bronze Age site of Shilinggang (ca. 2500 Cal BP) in northwest Yunnan Province. The δ13C results for human samples from Shilinggang demonstrate that people's diets were mainly dominated by C3-based foodstuffs, probably due to... both direct consumption of C3 food and as a result of C3 foddering of consumed animals. Auxiliary C4 food signals can also be detected. High δ15N values indicate that meat was an important component of the diet. Analysis of faunal samples indicates that people primarily fed pigs and dogs with human food waste, while sheep/goats and cattle were foddered with other food sources. We compare stable isotope and archaeobotanical data from Shilinggang with data from other Bronze Age sites in Yunnan to explore potential regional variation in subsistence strategies. Our work suggests that people adopted different animal utilization and subsistence strategies in different parts of Yunnan during the Bronze Age period, probably as local adaptations to the highly diversified and isolated environments in the region.