Reconstructing the food structure of ancient coastal inhabitants from Beiqian village: Stable isotopic analysis of fossil human bone
- First Online:
- 492 Downloads
The Beiqian site located in Jimo city, Qingdao, a few kilometers from the modern coastline was excavated in 2007, 2009 and 2011. A large number of human bones from the early Dawenkou period were unearthed. Through C and N stable isotopic analysis, the food structure of the “Beiqian” ancestors was reconstructed and the influence of terrestrial and marine resources on their lifestyle was discussed. Based on the δ13C and δ15N stable isotopic values of human bone collagen, the analytical results obtained through a ternary mixed model reveal that the food sources of the Beiqian ancestors included about 44.1% marine species (probably shellfish and fish), 34.1% C4 plants (possibly millet), and 21.8% land animals. These results indicate that they lived mainly from fishing and farming, supplemented by hunting or poultry raising. Compared with other sites in the same period, the stable isotope results show that 5000–6000 years ago, the lifestyles of ancestors in the Yangtze River basin, Yellow River basin, Northern coastal area and inland area were very different. The ancestors from the Yangtze River basin focused on rice farming and fishing, whereas the ancestors in the Yellow River basin farmed millet and raised animals. Those in coastal areas relied mostly on farming and marine fishing.