Community Diversity at Ban Lum Khao, Thailand: Isotopic Evidence from the Skeletons

Date
2009
Authors
Bentley, R. Alexander
Cox, Katherine
Tayles, Nancy
Higham, Charles
Macpherson, Colin
Nowell, Geoff
Cooper, Matthew
Hayes, Tina E.F.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
University of Hawai'i Press (Honolulu)
Abstract
Isotopes of strontium, carbon, and oxygen were analyzed in human tooth enamel from the Bronze Age site of Ban Lum Khao (c. 1400 b.c.–500 b.c.) in Thailand. The strontium and oxygen isotopes, which generally reflect place of origin, delimit discrete groups among the individuals. Among the females, di¤erent groups determined through isotopic signatures were buried with distinctive pottery types. This suggests that social identity, drawn from village of origin, was conveyed by material culture, at least in burial. Although Ban Lum Khao was probably an egalitarian community, this isotopic and archaeological evidence suggests that di¤erent social identities were associated with place of childhood origin in this Bronze Age community.
Description
Keywords
prehistoric kinship, matrilocality, patrilocality, strontium isotopes, oxygen isotopes, carbon isotopes, Sr-87/Sr-86, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Southeast Asia
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