Isotopic Analysis of Ancient Deer Bone: Biotic Stability in Collapse Period Maya Land-use Academic Article uri icon


  • Isotopic analysis of archaeological white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) bone allows us to examine ancient human land-use through changes in deer diet. These opportunistic edge browsers are ubiquitous Mesoamerican agricultural crop pests. We attempt to quantify diachronic change in deer diet, and thereby browse availability, through analyses of stable carbon isotopes in deer collagen from a large, temporally diverse zooarchaeological deer bone assemblage from the Petexbatun region, Peten, Guatemala. Our finding of temporal uniformity in C4 plant consumption suggests stability in the surrounding biotic communities and in the land-use practices of the ancient Maya. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Archaeological Science

author list (cited authors)

  • Emery, K. F., Wright, L. E., & Schwarcz, H.

citation count

  • 60

complete list of authors

  • Emery, Kitty F||Wright, Lori E||Schwarcz, Henry

publication date

  • January 2000