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

Stokes, H., Muldner, G. and Jenkins, E. L., 2011. An investigation into the archaeological application of carbon stable isotope analysis used to establish crop water availability: solutions and ways forward. In: Mithen, S. and Black, E., eds. Water, life and civilisation: climate, environment and society in the Jordan Valley. Cambridge, England/ New York: Cambridge University Press/UNESCO, pp. 373-380.

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Abstract

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

Item Type:Book Section
ISBN:9780521769570
Series Name:International Hydrology Series
Series Name:International Hydrology Series
Uncontrolled Keywords:isotopes, wheat, water availability
Subjects:History > Archaeology
Science > Biology and Botany
Geography and Environmental Studies
Group:Faculty of Science and Technology
ID Code:18269
Deposited By:Dr Emma L. Jenkins
Deposited On:08 Jul 2011 09:40
Last Modified:10 Sep 2014 15:52

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