Approaches to determine reservoir effects in elk/moose

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  • Bente Philippsen
The elk/moose (Alces alces) was an important resource for prehistoric societies. In prehistoric art, it is often depicted in connection with water. Also, biologists find that elk spend a lot of time in water and consume considerable amounts of aquatic plants. As freshwater plants can have reservoir ages of hundreds or even thousands of years, there is a risk of a significant reservoir effect in elk bones and antler, and artefacts made of these materials. This study followed several approaches to investigate the possibility of a freshwater reservoir effect in elk. We analysed modern, historical and archaeological bones and antler from several sites across Eurasia. Skull bone and antler of the same individual were radiocarbon dated, as antler is formed in summer, when the proportion of aquatic diet is supposed to be highest.
The maximum reservoir effect measured in this study was about 500 years, and only found in one individual. A difference between bone and antler could not be determined. The reservoir effect appears to be smaller than estimated from accounts of elk diet, even in regions where a substantial freshwater reservoir effect is expected. Therefore, the hypothesis of a large proportion of aquatic diet can be rejected for several of the individuals studied here.
Funding: IFA IDEAS 2014
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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