Episode 123: How do scientists use different isotopes to explore the diets and social dynamics in prehistoric China?

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Thông tin tác giả Dr. Michael B. C. Rivera được phát hiện bởi Player FM và cộng đồng của chúng tôi - bản quyền thuộc sở hữu của nhà sản xuất (publisher), không thuộc về Player FM, và audio được phát trực tiếp từ máy chủ của họ. Bạn chỉ cần nhấn nút Theo dõi (Subscribe) để nhận thông tin cập nhật từ Player FM, hoặc dán URL feed vào các ứng dụng podcast khác.

Today, Dr. Christina Cheung (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle) is on the show to talk all about stable isotope analyses and reconstructing what subsistence strategies ancient people were using in prehistoric China, especially around the time of the Shang Dynasty (13th to 11th century BCE).

Why is the site of Yin Xu, the capital of Shang Dynasty, so important in studies of historical China? What is the story behind the 'oracle bones' and the remains of human sacrificial victims found at this site? By sampling human and animal bone collagen to investigate stable isotope patterns, what have Chris and her colleagues discovered about who these sacrificial victims were? In order to use these biomolecular methods to understand past foodways and social dynamics, what samples are needed from a human skeleton and how does sampling from different bones influence what we know about a deceased individual's diet?

Also, what was Chris's journey into working in these areas of archaeological science? How does the site of Yin Xu, and the palaeodiets of Shang Dynasty residents and immigrants, fit into broader narratives concerning pastoralist and agricultural lifestyles throughout time and geography in China? How can this research be relevant to understanding the impacts of sudden climate change on food consumption patterns in the future?

You can find more information in the show notes under the episode on our website.

If you have feedback or questions for Chris, she is contactable via Twitter.

You can also read her two SAPIENS articles, one on the oracles bones and sacrifical victims of Yin Xu, and the other on the transition from millet-farming to wheat reliance in ancient China. All of Chris's research is available on ResearchGate and Google Scholar.

You can find Michael on Twitter and Instagram too.

The Arch and Anth Podcast is on Twitter and Instagram, and it has a Facebook page.

If you liked this episode and you want to help contribute to the show, please visit the Patreon page for details on how to do that.

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