Oxygen isotope composition of Sparidae (sea bream) tooth enamel from well-dated archaeological sites as an environmental proxy in the East Mediterranean: A case study from Tel Dor, Israel

G. Sisma-Ventura, I. Zohar, A. Sarkar, K. Bhattacharyya, A. Zidane, A. Gilboa, G. Bar-Oz, D. Sivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper examines the potential of oxygen stable isotope composition of Sparidae (sea-bream) tooth enamel phosphate (δ18OP) as an indicator of the habitat in which the fish were captured. The isotopic compositions of Sparidae molariform teeth recovered from the coastal site of Tel Dor (northern coast of Israel), from a sequence dated to the 12th-7th centuries BCE and from modern samples were studied. The δ18OP values of the archaeological specimens exhibited a wide range of values, varying between 21.3 and 25.2 ± 0.2‰.While δ18OP values from the teeth dated to the 12th-9th centuries BCE resembled typical East Mediterranean coastal water, some of the later teeth, dated to the 9th-7th centuries BCE, exhibited higher values. The later values indicate tooth enamel deposition in a hyper-saline environment similar to δ18OP values of Sparidae observed at Bardawil Lagoon (Southeastern Mediterranean coast, east of the Suez Canal, Egypt). Prior to this study all Sparidae fish recovered at Tel Dor were regarded as evidence of local fishing activity. The current results exhibit, for the first time, that some of the Sparids may have been exported from the Bardawil Lagoon. We discuss, however, an alternative scenario, namely, the possible existence of saline lagoons near Tel Dor in antiquity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)46-53
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume64
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015

Keywords

  • Iron Age
  • Oxygen isotope
  • Paleo-environment
  • Sparidae
  • Tel Dor
  • Tooth enamel

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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