EXAMINING CHILDHOOD DIETS AT KAMINALJUYU, GUATEMALA, THROUGH STABLE ISOTOPIC ANALYSIS OF SEQUENTIAL ENAMEL MICROSAMPLES*

Authors


email lwright@tamu.edu

Abstract

Stable carbon and oxygen isotope ratios of tooth enamel provide a means to examine nutritional changes during childhood. To date, such studies have used large enamel samples, often spanning the developmental period of the tooth. This paper reports the results of small samples drilled from first molars and premolars of human teeth from Kaminaljuyu, a Classic period city in highland Guatemala. Carbon isotopes show considerable increase between cuspal and cervical enamel for both teeth, indicating an increase in maize consumption during childhood. Oxygen isotope trends are more variable, and suggest some seasonal fluctuation. While the oxygen isotope data confirm the identification of foreign skeletons among the samples, they illustrate a need for caution when sampling teeth due to variable δ18O composition of enamel within a tooth.

Ancillary