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Keywords:

  • zooarcheology;
  • South America;
  • hunter–gatherers;
  • subsistence;
  • late Holocene

Abstract

Previous researches have examined the zooarchaeological record to understand changes in human diet in central western Argentina through time. This research has focused on variations in the relative abundance of large prey in archaeofaunal contexts. The observed changes were explained by a decrease in residential mobility, forced by both the intensification in the use of resources and the introduction of the first domesticated plants ca. 2000 years bp.

In this paper, we revised archaeofaunal interpretations by taking into account zooarchaeological assemblages and human isotope records within the biogeographical distributions of prey in the region. Our results demonstrate that faunal diversity in zooarchaeological assemblages has a stronger correlation with the natural distribution of resources (especially with altitude) than with chronology, as was proposed previously. However, archaeofaunal information, including human isotopic data, suggests that a decrease in residential mobility, postulated in a previous paper, took place, modifying the expected diversity distribution throughout the landscape. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.