Integrating Stable Isotope and Zooarchaeological Analyses in Historical Archaeology: A Case Study from the Urban Nineteenth-Century Commonwealth Block Site, Melbourne, Australia
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- Guiry, E.J., Harpley, B., Jones, Z. et al. Int J Histor Archaeol (2014) 18: 415. doi:10.1007/s10761-014-0264-3
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This paper presents the first use of bone collagen stable isotope analyses for the purpose of reconstructing historical animal husbandry and trade practices in Australia. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses of 51 domesticate and commensal specimens demonstrate that meats consumed at the mid to late nineteenth-century Commonwealth Block site in Melbourne derived from animals with a diverse range of isotopic signatures. Potential factors contributing to this diversity including animal trade and variability in local animal husbandry practices are discussed. From these results we suggest that stable isotope-based paleodietary reconstructions have significant potential to illuminate a variety of human-animal relations in Australia’s historical period as well as other New World contexts.