Jason E. Laffoon
This article discusses the applications of isotope analyses to insular Caribbean contexts, with a special emphasis on the uses of strontium and oxygen isotope analyses to investigate the movement of humans, animals, and materials from the archaeological record. The first applications of these approaches to Caribbean materials are very recent, but their results indicate both the enormous potential of these techniques and some of their limitations. The discussion considers the future course of this research topic in the Caribbean, with some suggestions for how to further develop these approaches and ways in which they might contribute to archaeological discourses on mobility and diet within the circum-Caribbean.
William J. Pestle
This article presents an overview of the history of Caribbean archaeological carbon and nitrogen stable isotope studies, a history that is paradoxically notable both for the precociousness of its first appearance and the subsequent dearth of large and meaningful studies. It provides a synopsis of the methodological underpinnings of paleodietary reconstruction by stable isotope analysis and discusses some of the unique challenges encountered in the use of this technique in Caribbean contexts. After reviewing some of the more meaningful studies of Caribbean archaeological materials, the article concludes with some thoughts on future prospects for the use of C and N stable isotope analysis for paleodietary reconstruction in archaeological research in the Caribbean Basin.