Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Research on Ancient People’s Diet: Using Isotope analysis of Carbon-13 and Nitrogen-1

" Research on Ancient People’s Diet: Using Isotope analysis of Carbon-13 and Nitrogen-14”

古人类食物结构研究: 应用稳定同位素碳十三、氮十五的分析

Keywords : diet, isotope analysis, earlier prehistory

Speaker : Professor Xuelian Zhang 张雪莲 教授
Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Archaeology Center, Stanford University

Thursday, Oct. 15, 7:00-9:00pm @ Meyer Library, Room 147
Location Map:

Working language: Chinese

Outline of the Talk

Analysis of stable isotope 13C and 15N from human bones is an important method for research on ancient people’s diet. Analysis of 13C can tell us about what the people have in their staple food and analysis of 15N can reflect the nutrition level of the people. In 1980s, analysis of 13C was first introduced in China by the Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory of Institute of Archaeology and human or animal bones from some famous archaeological sites of China such as Yangshao and Taosi were analyzed and it revealed that people had the kind of millet as their staple food and while the pig had bran of millet as their staple food, which started the research in China. In the beginning of the century, on the basis of a lot of experiments, the analysis of 15N was established with the instrument for element analysis in the Laboratory for the first time in China, which completing the method as a whole. Recent years, by this method, many archaeological sites, especially some earlier prehistory sites have been detected on the diet of past and then it also provided the basis for the research on natural environment, development of productive forces and related social customs.

Bio. Of Professor Xuelian Zhang
Xuelian Zhang is Professor at Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. She received her Department of Archaeology, Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, her M. S. in Department of Chemistry, Fudan University and B. S. in Department of Chemistry, Shandong Normal University. She is the head of Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory of the Institute of Archaeology and recipient of “Excellent Researcher of Science and Technology of China” as well as “Excellent Post-Doctor of China”. She has taken part in many research programs supported by National Department of Science and Technology in recently years. Professor Zhang is currently a visiting fellow at the Archaeology Center, Stanford University. Her research areas are 1. Research on Ancient people’s diet by isotope analysis and 2. Radiocarbon d ating and chronology for Neolithic and the Bronze Age in China

Tianjue Luo
ChinaRains @ Stanford University

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