Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Anthropology

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 38 pages) : color illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Sean Rafferty


archaeology, carbon, faunal, Isotopes, nitrogen, Animals, Fossil, Radiocarbon dating, Carbon, Nitrogen

Subject Categories

Biogeochemistry | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology


The purpose of this study was to do an isotopic analysis to determine the carbon and nitrogen isotope concentrations of archaeological faunal material found in the Dutchess Quarry Caves in Orange County, NY. These isotope values were then used to compare the taxa from which the samples were taken to determine if and how trophic relationships were formed. The main focus of this comparison spotlighted a sample from a human femur; to establish the human's position trophically with the other large and small mammal samples collected. The human had been previously radiocarbon dated to have lived between 2877 and 3180 years bp, indicating that it had most likely lived during the Early Woodland Period (1000-1 BCE) (Hill and Hurtado, 1989). This period marked a very early shift to a more agriculturally based subsistence strategy with the utilization of pottery and a semi-permanent settlement lifestyle, but most still lived as hunter-gatherers (Hill and Hurtado, 1989). Evidence from the site itself yielded no remains of pottery or plant food, but rather a heavy focus on tool making for hunting and perhaps butchering (Funk and Steadman, 1994).