This paper examines the potential of oxygen stable isotope composition of Sparidae (sea-bream) tooth enamel phosphate (δ18OP) as an indicator of the habitat in which the fish were captured. The isotopic compositions of Sparidae molariform teeth recovered from the coastal site of Tel Dor (northern coast of Israel), from a sequence dated to the 12th-7th centuries BCE and from modern samples were studied. The δ18OP values of the archaeological specimens exhibited a wide range of values, varying between 21.3 and 25.2 ± 0.2‰.While δ18OP values from the teeth dated to the 12th-9th centuries BCE resembled typical East Mediterranean coastal water, some of the later teeth, dated to the 9th-7th centuries BCE, exhibited higher values. The later values indicate tooth enamel deposition in a hyper-saline environment similar to δ18OP values of Sparidae observed at Bardawil Lagoon (Southeastern Mediterranean coast, east of the Suez Canal, Egypt). Prior to this study all Sparidae fish recovered at Tel Dor were regarded as evidence of local fishing activity. The current results exhibit, for the first time, that some of the Sparids may have been exported from the Bardawil Lagoon. We discuss, however, an alternative scenario, namely, the possible existence of saline lagoons near Tel Dor in antiquity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The fish remains used in this study are part of Anuar Zidane's Ph.D. research supported by the University of Haifa and ISF Grant 52/10. The Tel Dor excavations are co-directed by Ayelet Gilboa and Ilan Sharon (the Hebrew University). We deeply thank Ilan Sharon for his support and for implementing the excavation strategy that enabled this project. Tel Dor excavations are supported by the Wendy Goldhirsh Foundation, California. The authors would also like to thank the Irene Levi Sala CARE Archaeological Foundation for its financial aid to establish the fish reference collection. We are grateful to the University of Haifa for funding G. Sisma-Ventura's post-doc, matched by ISF grant 923/11 . The field work that enabled this study was supervised by Yiftah Shalev of the University of Haifa (Areas D1 and D5) and Elizabeth Bloch-Smith of St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia (Area D2).
© 2015 .
- Iron Age
- Oxygen isotope
- Tel Dor
- Tooth enamel
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