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date: 02 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter shows how a combination of zooarchaeological and stable isotope evidence documents substantial but variable use of aquatic resources by Middle Holocene foragers inhabiting the Cis-Baikal region of Eastern Siberia. We first outline potential food items—including terrestrial mammals, riverine and lacustrine fish, the Baikal freshwater seal, and some plant foods. Faunal remains exist from both habitation sites and cemeteries. Habitation site assemblages show subsistence practices at seasonally occupied locations, with composition varying within the region. Some cemetery assemblages are taxonomically richer, indicating that small mammals and waterfowl were also important. Stable nitrogen and carbon isotope studies of human skeletal collections document substantial use of aquatic foods. Regional variability in the use of aquatic foods is evident, but there is little clear evidence for Middle Holocene dietary shifts. Instead, there appears to have been long-term stability with some regional variation related to resource availability.

Keywords: Holocene, foragers, stable isotopes, zooarchaeology, aquatic resources

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