Society for American Archaeology (SAA)80th Annual Meeting April 15-19, 2015, San Fransisco, CA, Podium

General Session: Neolithic and Chalcolithic archaeology in the Ancient Near East


Isotope diachronic changes in Armenia during Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods: Environment, herding strategies, human dietary practices


Estelle HERRSCHER(1), Adrian BALASESCU(2), Modwene POULMARC’H(3), Valentin RADU(2), Roman HOVSEPYAN(4), Pavel AVETISYAN(4), Ruben BADALYAN(4), Christine CHATAIGNER(3), Armine HARUTYUNYAN(4), Iren KALANTARYAN(4), Françoise LE MORT(3), Giulio PALUMBI(3)

(1) Aix Marseille University, CNRS, LAMPEA – UMR 7269, Aix-en-Provence, France; (2) National History Museum of Romania, Bucharest, Romania; (3) Archéorient – UMR 5133, CNRS, Université Lyon II, Lyon, France; (4) Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia


The Caucasus, at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, is a key region to investigate the modalities of the distribution of plants. Our study aims at documenting the presence of C4 plants, wild and domestic as millet crop and detecting their management and consumption through this area using stable isotope analysis of human and animal remains. Two Armenian archaeological sites, Aknashen (Late Neolithic) and Godedzor (Late Chalcolithic), allowed a detailed sampling of 95 terrestrial, domestic and wild, animals and freshwater fishes and 5 humans. High carbon values for the wild Neolithic animals indicate a variable but significant consumption of C4 plants, whereas no C4 plants intake is detected for the Chalcolithic animals. Different positions of domestic animals in the food chain between Neolithic and Chalcolithic suggest different herding management linked to the environment. Human Neolithic carbon isotope values suggest a consumption of wild animals and freshwater fish, not detected in the Chalcolithic humans. Pooled with our other data from the Caucasus area, results suggest a heavy consumption of wild C4 plants along the Kura River since the Neolithic as well as the consumption of millet at the end of the Bronze Age.

University of Cambridge, Division of Biological Anthropology

Le 29 avril dernier Estelle Herrscher était à Cambridge dans le cadre des BioAnth Seminar Series afin de présenter les travaux de l’ANR ORIMIL ˮThe History of Millet in Southern Caucasus. A stable isotope perspective” (figs. 1, 2).


Figure 1 : Programme séminaire Cambridge

Figure 1 : Programme séminaire Cambridge


Figure 2 : Résumé de la présentation d'Estelle Herrscher

Figure 2 : Résumé de la présentation d’Estelle Herrscher

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