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Stable isotopes in archaeobotanical research

Abstract

In recent decades the analysis of stable isotopes in plants has become a useful method to infer natural and anthropogenic effects on the growing conditions of plants. Here we present a review of the state-of-the-art regarding the use of stable isotopes in plant macroremains. After providing a brief theoretical and methodological background, we will concentrate on the most common applications developed so far: reconstruction of climate and crop growing conditions, and crop provenancing. Finally, we will discuss current methodological challenges, and potential new directions for research.

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Acknowledgments

JLA and JPF received support from ERC-Advanced grant 230561 (AGRIWESTMED) and Spanish project PALEOISOMED (CGL2009-13079-C02). JPF is supported by the Ramón y Cajal programme (RYC-2008-02050, MCINN, Spain). SR thanks the German Research Foundation (DFG) for financial support (RI 1193/6-2). The researches of GF are supported by Italian PRIN project IDEAL (2010H8WPKL_004) within the research unit of University of Salento.

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Correspondence to Girolamo Fiorentino.

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Communicated by F. Bittmann.

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Fiorentino, G., Ferrio, J.P., Bogaard, A. et al. Stable isotopes in archaeobotanical research. Veget Hist Archaeobot 24, 215–227 (2015) doi:10.1007/s00334-014-0492-9

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Keywords

  • Stable isotopes
  • Archaeobotany
  • Seeds
  • Charcoal