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Refining oxygen isotope analysis in the Nasca region of Peru: An investigation of water sources and archaeological samples



The development of complex societies, irrigation agriculture and sociopolitical transitions are of interest to researchers working in the Nasca region on the south coast of Peru. Occupied for thousands of years, many questions regarding the circumstances of these changes in the area are being investigated. Oxygen isotope analysis provides a method for exploring residential mobility of past peoples during these transitions. This study presents new δ18O data from water sources that would have been used by the ancient inhabitants, providing important information regarding the oxygen isotope variability in the region and the necessary baseline data for migration studies in this region. Our results suggest that the isotopic composition of water sources in the Nasca region is not highly variable. In addition, archaeological human tooth enamel samples from the sites of La Tiza and Pajonal Alto are analysed. The δ18Oc results of the human enamel samples confirm the local nature of the burial population, as suggested by previous strontium isotope analysis (87Sr/86Sr). Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

This article was published online on 13 January 2010. An error was subsequently identified. This notice is included in the online and print versions to indicate that both have been corrected 15 January 2010.