Human Diet and Residential Mobility in the Central Western Argentina Colony: Stable Isotopes (13C, 15N, 18O) Trends in Archaeological Bone Samples

  • Horacio ChiavazzaEmail author
  • Daniela Mansegosa
  • Adolfo Gil


Change or continuity of the human diet after the Spanish settlement in America is a topic mostly addressed in historical written documents with little use of the archaeological record and bioarchaeological or culture material. To counteract this weakness, this paper presents a study of the diet in individuals living in central-western Argentina between the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The paper, focusing on historical bioarchaeology using stable isotopes (δ13C, δ15N, δ18O) from bone samples of human skeletal remains found in Mendoza, Argentina. The aim is to reconstruct the human diet and its residential mobility. Our results show little inclusion of maize in these populations’ diets, significantly less than those for the same region during pre-Hispanic times. The data do not indicate a historic continuity in dietary practices between pre-Hispanic and post Hispanic human population.


Colony Central Western Argentina Stable isotopes Human diet Residential mobility 



We wish to thank the Centro de Investigaciones Ruinas de San Francisco Team (Area Fundacional, Municipalidad de Mendoza), SECTyP (UNCuyo, Mendoza), Museo de Historia Natural de San Rafael, and CONICET. We also thank Luciano Valenzuela for his comments on a preliminary version. Two reviewers noted significant problems and they made comments and observation that we considered in a new version. We appreciate the help of Andy Froehle and his willingness to discuss the interpretation of the multivariate model in our study case. We also thank Cristina Ducos for the translation of the Spanish version into English, Fernando Franchetti and Mariana Gimenez for reviewing the text, and Miguel Giardina for making some of the figures for this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Horacio Chiavazza
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniela Mansegosa
    • 2
  • Adolfo Gil
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculta de Filosofía y LetrasUniversidad Nacional de CuyoCiudad de MendozaArgentina
  2. 2.CONICET, Facultad de Filosofía y LetrasUniversidad Nacional de CuyoCiudad de MendozaArgentina
  3. 3.CONICET-IANIGLAMuseo de Historia Natural de San RafaelSan RafaelArgentina

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