Northeast Historical Archaeology


Stable isotope–based paleodietary work is ideally suited for answering questions about a wide variety of human/animal relationships in historical archaeological contexts in northeastern North America and farther afield. To date, very few published studies have approached historical animal husbandry and trade from an isotopic perspective. We advocate for increased attention to the possibilities of stable-isotope work by (1) explaining why the technique is well suited to address some problems of human/animal relations encountered by historical archaeologists, (2) presenting a literature review of previous stable-isotope work on human/ animal interaction in historical North America, and (3) offering a short case study on the dietary life history of an individual pig raised at the archaeological site of Ferryland, Newfoundland, Canada, based on stable carbon- and nitrogen-isotope data from serially sectioned dental collagen.