The University of Arizona

Dietary Reconstruction of the Okhotsk Culture of Hokkaido, Japan, Based on Nitrogen Composition of Amino Acids: Implications for Correction of 14C Marine Reservoir Effects on Human Bones

Y I Naito, Y Chikaraishi, N Ohkouchi, H Mukai, Y Shibata, N V Honch, Y Dodo, H Ishida, T Amano, H Ono, M Yoneda

Abstract


The relative contribution of marine-derived carbon in the ancient diet is essential for correcting the marine reservoir effect on the radiocarbon age of archaeological human remains. In this study, we evaluated the marine protein consumption of 3 human populations from the Okhotsk culture (about AD 550-1200) in Hokkaido, Japan, based on stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic compositions in bulk bone collagen as well as the nitrogen isotopic composition of glutamic acid and phenylalanine. Despite the similarity of carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of bulk collagens, nitrogen isotopic composition of their constituent amino acids suggests differences in fur seal contributions among northern Hokkaido (0-24% for Kafukai 1, 0-10% for Hamanaka 2) and eastern Hokkaido (78-80% for Moyoro) populations. It suggests that nitrogen composition of glutamic acid and phenylalanine could provide a detailed picture of ancient human subsistence.

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