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Discriminating Management Strategies In Modern And Archaeological Domestic Caprines Using Low-Magnification And Confocal Dental Microwear Analyses

AuthorsIbáñez-Estévez, Juan José ; Jiménez-Manchón, Sergio; Blaise, Émilie; Nieto-Espinet, Ariadna ; Valenzuela-Lamas, Silvia
KeywordsDental microwear analysis
Iron Age
Domestic caprines
Font de la Canya
Issue Date2020
CitationQuaternary International : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2020.03.006 (2020)
AbstractDental Microwear Analysis (DMA) is currently used for obtaining information on diet of different animal species. Low-magnification Microwear Dental Analysis (LMDA) is a DMA technique based on the identification of microfeatures (pits and scratches) on the tooth enamel surface. During the last decade, Dental Microwear Texture Analysis (DMTA) has gained momentum as an alternative quantitative methodology thus offering more reliable and replicable results and allowing highlighting subtle dietary differences. In this paper we explore the capacities of LMDA and DMTA for discriminating flock managing strategies. Two groups of sheep that were fed differently during the last month of life, one roaming on rangeland, combining Mediterranean forest and meadows and the other on grassland were analysed. While LMDA did not allow discriminating both groups, DMTA showed significant differences between them. DMTA revealed good predictive capacity for the correct classification of the individuals grazing on grasslands, and a poor one for the ones grazing on rangeland, as some of them overlapped with the grassland group. The limitation for correctly classifying roaming individuals is probably explained by the variable composition of plants on rangeland. We used the classificatory rule obtained from the experimental program to classify two archaeological collections of caprines (sheep and goats), from two Iron Age sites from the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula: The Iberian site of El Turó de la Font de la Canya and the Greek colony of Empúries. Finally, we compared the results with those obtained in previous studies using low-magnification microwear techniques (LMDA). In this way, we show the potential of DMTA for discriminating between animal feeding strategies in the past.
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