Carbon Isotope Ratios of Plant n-Alkanes and Microstratigraphy Analyses of Dung Accumulations in a Pastoral Nomadic Winter Campsite (Eastern Mongolia)

Natalia Égüez, Cheryl A. Makarewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Livestock fecal remains provide an important source of information on past animal husbandry systems and dung use. A combined micromorphological and biomolecular investigation of dung deposits brings new perspectives into past landscape land use and animal husbandry strategies by providing seasonal-scale information on livestock dietary intake as well as intensity of dung deposition in penning spaces. We conducted microstratigraphic analyses and compound-specific carbon stable isotope analysis of plant n-alkanes of dung deposits associated with pastoral nomadic winter campsites in Mongolia, in order to explore the floral origin of graze ingested by livestock and evaluate its potential biomolecular signatures. Preliminary results show that δ13C values of plant n-alkanes were unusually depleted when compared to carbon isotope values of plant n-alkanes in soil control samples recovered from landscapes with minimal anthropic activity. We highlight the importance of multi-proxy ethnoarcheological studies in identifying biomarkers that convey information on pastoralist animal exploitation practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-158
Number of pages18
JournalEthnoarchaeology
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • compound-specific stable isotope analysis
  • dung
  • Ethnoarchaeology
  • micromorphology
  • Mongolia
  • n-alkanes
  • pastoralism
  • semi-arid lands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology

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