Skip to main content
placeholder image

Investigating the presence of foreigners and pig husbandry in ancient Bali: Stable isotopes in human and domestic animal tooth enamel

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Archaeological excavations at the Sembiran and Pacung archaeological sites in coastal Bali, Indonesia, have yielded pottery sherds and other material culture that derives from India and other locations on the Asian mainland, demonstrating that about 2000¬†years ago the north coast of Bali was in contact with cultures from mainland Asia. The area may in fact have hosted a harbour and perhaps even a community of foreign traders or immigrants. The Sembiran and Pacung excavations also yielded human remains from the same time period. We performed strontium, oxygen and carbon stable isotope analyses of tooth enamel from nine human skeletons to investigate whether the people interred at Sembiran and Pacung were from the local area or had travelled there from a distant home. Strontium isotope ratios were also measured in seven archaeological pig (Sus cf. scrofa) teeth, one archaeological canid tooth, and five modern snail (Achatina fulica) shells to help identify the local strontium isotope signature. The people interred at Pacung and Sembiran had similar oxygen and carbon isotope ratios but varying strontium isotope ratios which were higher than expected based on geology. Despite the abundance of foreign materials recovered, our isotope data can be most parsimoniously explained as deriving from a group of locally raised individuals who had a varying mix of coastal and inland plant resources in their diets. In addition, strontium isotope ratios from the pig teeth show interesting clustering, suggesting that two or three different husbandry practices may have been employed.

Publication Date


  • 2016

Citation


  • Fenner, J. N., Gagan, M. K., Cowley, J., Armstrong, R., & Prasetyo, B. (2016). Investigating the presence of foreigners and pig husbandry in ancient Bali: Stable isotopes in human and domestic animal tooth enamel. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 10, 272-281. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.09.014

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84992221618

Web Of Science Accession Number


Start Page


  • 272

End Page


  • 281

Volume


  • 10

Abstract


  • Archaeological excavations at the Sembiran and Pacung archaeological sites in coastal Bali, Indonesia, have yielded pottery sherds and other material culture that derives from India and other locations on the Asian mainland, demonstrating that about 2000¬†years ago the north coast of Bali was in contact with cultures from mainland Asia. The area may in fact have hosted a harbour and perhaps even a community of foreign traders or immigrants. The Sembiran and Pacung excavations also yielded human remains from the same time period. We performed strontium, oxygen and carbon stable isotope analyses of tooth enamel from nine human skeletons to investigate whether the people interred at Sembiran and Pacung were from the local area or had travelled there from a distant home. Strontium isotope ratios were also measured in seven archaeological pig (Sus cf. scrofa) teeth, one archaeological canid tooth, and five modern snail (Achatina fulica) shells to help identify the local strontium isotope signature. The people interred at Pacung and Sembiran had similar oxygen and carbon isotope ratios but varying strontium isotope ratios which were higher than expected based on geology. Despite the abundance of foreign materials recovered, our isotope data can be most parsimoniously explained as deriving from a group of locally raised individuals who had a varying mix of coastal and inland plant resources in their diets. In addition, strontium isotope ratios from the pig teeth show interesting clustering, suggesting that two or three different husbandry practices may have been employed.

Publication Date


  • 2016

Citation


  • Fenner, J. N., Gagan, M. K., Cowley, J., Armstrong, R., & Prasetyo, B. (2016). Investigating the presence of foreigners and pig husbandry in ancient Bali: Stable isotopes in human and domestic animal tooth enamel. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 10, 272-281. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.09.014

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84992221618

Web Of Science Accession Number


Start Page


  • 272

End Page


  • 281

Volume


  • 10