Macropods and measurables: A critical review of contemporary isotopic approaches to palaeo-environmental reconstructions in Australian zooarchaeology

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3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Stable isotopic analyses of herbivorous mammal remains are a powerful and globally applied tool for reconstructing past environments and ecological histories from archaeological sites. For Australia, a substantial corpus of foundational literature has competently established the environmental sources of isotopic variation in modern kangaroo and wallaby species. However, despite the pervasive distribution of these kinds of macropods in contemporary and archaeological contexts, isotopic techniques are utilised infrequently. Our review of the history of macropod isotopic analysis identifies and proposes solutions to the complexities that have inhibited its widespread application in Australian archaeology. This includes a description of relevant basic principles including ecology, physiology and isotopic fractionation. To support our claims for the considerable research potential of macropod remains, we present preliminary analyses of tooth enamel carbonates from archaeological deposits at Boodie Cave, Barrow Island, located in Australia's northwest arid zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-154
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Volume17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

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