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Patterns of Paleomobility in the Ancient Antilles

Patterns of paleomobility in the Caribbean were studied through an inter-disciplinary approach using a combination of archaeological, osteological, mortuary, and isotopic data.

Jason E. Laffoon
01 January 2012
The publication in Open Access

Samples of human enamel from 360 individuals from multiple sites spanning a broad range of geographic and temporal contexts were analyzed for strontium isotope composition.

These results were interpreted in reference to a database of strontium isotope variation for the Caribbean biosphere created through the analysis of 288 modern and archeological animal and plant samples. These combined strontium isotope datasets contributed to assessments of the spatial patterning of bioavailable strontium isotopes in the region and to estimations of the local range of isotope variation for the different site populations.

These ranges were used to determine whether individuals were of local or nonlocal origin and were then analyzed to examine variability in patterns of migration, with a specific focus on testing possible relationships between residential origins and biological sex, age at death, chronology, grave goods, and dietary practices.

Carbon and oxygen isotope analyses of dental enamel were also conducted on a subset of 50 individuals to assess their potential for provenance studies in the Caribbean region and for investigating the origins of suspected long-distance migrants.

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