An investigation into the archaeological application\ud of carbon stable isotope analysis used to establish\ud crop water availability: solutions and ways forward

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Stokes, H. ; Muldner, G. ; Jenkins, Emma L. (2011)
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press/UNESCO
  • Subject: bb | ges | aeo

Carbon stable isotope analysis of charred cereal remains\ud is a relatively new method employed by archaeological\ud scientists to investigate ancient climate and irrigation\ud regimes. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of\ud environmental variables on carbon isotope\ud discrimination (D) in multiple environments to develop\ud the technique and its archaeological application, using\ud crops grown at three experimental stations in Jordan.\ud There are two key results: (1) as expected, there was a\ud strong positive relationship between water availability\ud and D; (2) site, not water input, was the most important\ud factor in determining D. Future work should concentrate\ud on establishing ways of correcting D for the influence of\ud site specific environmental variables and on assessing\ud how well carbon isotope discrimination values are\ud preserved within the archaeological record.
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