Reconstructing Southeast Iberian copper age mobility: a strontium isotope analysis of the Camino del Molino mass burial

Merner, Courtney (2017) Reconstructing Southeast Iberian copper age mobility: a strontium isotope analysis of the Camino del Molino mass burial. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This study is the first application of strontium (⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr) isotope analysis to identify human mobility patterns during the southeast Iberian Copper Age (3100-2200 BCE). Human (n = 93) and faunal (n = 23) tooth enamel were sampled from the site of Camino del Molino (Caravaca de la Cruz, Murcia, Spain), a dense communal burial pit in continuous use during cal. 2800-2400 BCE. Results show twelve human individuals and two of the fauna, an ovicaprid and a canid, are likely migrants to the burial area, exhibiting ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr values higher than the fauna-defined local biologically available Sr isotope range (0.7064-0.7107). The identified non-locals were all adults and included both females and males. These migrant individuals were found throughout the burial, however, the number of migrants were highest in the upper most levels. The local male population had a greater Sr isotope variation in comparison to the local female population, which supports a gendered division of mobility. Inter-site comparison within the Iberian Peninsula showed the local biologically available ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr values at the sites La Pijotilla and Perdigões from the Ossa-Morena Zone had comparable ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr ratios with the majority of non-local Camino del Molino individuals and, potentially, reflect a transhumant pastoral orbit between these two regions. The Sr isotope results endorse transhumance as an important economic practice at Camino del Molino. Overall, this research supports potential wide ranging networks between Iberian Copper Age communities.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 13070
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 116-148).
Keywords: Sr Isotopes, Camino del Molino, Chalcolithic Iberia, Mobility, Transhumance
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Archaeology
Date: September 2017
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Transhumance--Spain; Strontium--Isotopes--Analysis; Copper age--Spain.

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