Food choices can create and maintain group membership, also distinguishing groups based on dietary preferences and the perceived social value of foods. The food behaviors of social elites within complex societies are often governed by differential access and cultural factors determining the menu within a regional ecology. This study employs bioarchaeological and stable isotopic analyses to investigate the evidence for dietary variation of social elites within the Late Horizon (A.D. 1470–1532) cemetery of Huaca Las Abejas at Túcume using stable nitrogen and carbon isotopes. Paired teeth (early life diet) and bones (later life diet) were sampled from 23 individuals to examine consistency in food behaviors related to age, biological sex, and change over the life course. In total, 25 bone collagen, 33 bone apatite, 32 dentin collagen, and 30 enamel apatite samples were analyzed (n=120). Results suggest a mixed diet containing a high proportion of C4 resources and a dietary protein source elevated in δ13C. This research revealed statistically significant differences between bone and tooth δ15N and δ13Csc, adult and juvenile dentin δ15N and δ13Ccol, male and female bone δ15N, δ13Ccol, and dentin δ13Ccol. Paired tissues displayed statistically significant differences between δ15N and δ13Csc. The results of this multi-isotope and multi-tissue study indicate individual dietary patterns shifted through life and gendered dietary variation existed at Túcume during the Late Horizon. These results enhance the limited published isotopic literature on Andean Late Horizon north coast dietary variation, offering new insight into the food behaviors of social elites living under Inca administration.
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Toyne, J. Marla
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)
Smith, Dylan, "Dietary Variation of Social Elites Within a Late Horizon Cemetery (A.D. 1470-1532) at Túcume, Peru: Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopic Analysis of Huaca Las Abejas." (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 764.