δ13C values of wood and charcoal reveal broad isotopic ranges at the base of the food web

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskning

  • Bente Philippsen
  • Søren A. Sørensen, Museum Lolland-Falster, Danmark
  • Bjørnar Måge, Museum Lolland-Falster, Danmark
This study presents over 400 radiocarbon and δ13C analyses of wood and charcoal samples from a large excavation project in Denmark. Prior to the construction of a tunnel through the Femern belt, between the Danish island of Lolland and the German island of Fehmarn, an area of about 300 ha is under archaeological investigation. The excavations uncover about 10,000 years of human activities in a changing coastal landscape. The former sea floor offers excellent conditions for the preservation of wood, while charcoal is found in great quantities on dryland sites. All dated wood and charcoal samples are identified to species, if possible, and their δ13C values measured by offline isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS).Our results span a range of over 11 ‰. A time dependence of the δ13C values could not be observed. However, different species seem to comprise different δ13C ranges, although there are large overlaps between species. When stable isotope measurements are used for studies of subsistence and diet, great emphasis is placed on a thorough analysis of the isotopic baseline, i.e., the isotope ratios of potential food items. Traditionally, animal bones of as many species as possible are used for this purpose, with several measurements on different individuals of the same species in order to assess the possible isotopic ranges. Plant food, however, is often underrepresented, as it only is present in the archaeological record when charred grains, hazelnut shells or fruit seeds are preserved. The δ13C values of wood and charcoal (and a few hazelnut shells) presented here cannot serve as a proxy for plant food in general, but can illustrate the degree of variability that has to be expected at the base of the food web.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Udgivelsesårjun. 2018
StatusUdgivet - jun. 2018
BegivenhedThe 23rd International Radiocarbon Conference - Trondheim, Norge
Varighed: 17 jun. 201822 jun. 2018
Konferencens nummer: 23

Konference

KonferenceThe 23rd International Radiocarbon Conference
Nummer23
LokationTrondheim
LandNorge
Periode17/06/201822/06/2018

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