Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22 (2003) 292–304 www.elsevier.com/locate/jaa Neolithic subsistence patterns in northern Borneo reconstructed with stable carbon isotopes of enamel John Krigbaum* Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, 1112 Turlington Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611-7305, USA Abstract The Neolithic period in island Southeast Asia is characterized by various population movements, technological innovations, and the introduction/adoption of agricultural foodstuﬀs. Human subsistence trends during this period, however, are poorly understood. Broad spectrum foraging is generally assumed for prehistoric groups utilizing rain forest food resources but the degree to which cultigens were part of the dietary repertoire remains unclear. This paper explores human subsistence patterns at three penecontemporaneous Neolithic sites in Sarawak (East Malaysia) using stable isotope ratios of carbon and oxygen derived from tooth enamel apatite. The sites (Niah Cave, Lubang Angin, and Gua Sireh) diﬀer in local ecology and cultural circumstance but all are situated in C3 -dominant lowland primary rain forest. Signiﬁcant diﬀerences in d13 C values between sites likely reﬂect the canopy eﬀect and variations in foraging pattern. Lower values at Lubang Angin suggest dependence upon closed forest foraging. Higher values at Neolithic Niah Cave and Gua Sireh suggest more open forest horticulture and subsistence, including some form of systematic food production, collection, and/or habitat modiﬁcation. Ó 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Keywords: Southeast Asia; Borneo; Neolithic; Austronesian prehistory; Bioarchaeology; Paleodiet; Bone chemistry; Canopy eﬀect; Carbon isotopes; Oxygen isotopes Introduction The onset of the Neolithic in island Southeast Asia ca. 4000 years BP is characterized by a complex series of population movements, cultural and technological innovations, and the introduction of agricultural foodstuﬀs (Bellwood, 1997; Spriggs, 1989). Further evidence of change during this period is indicated by an increased frequency of archaeological sites, most commonly found in caves and rock shelters (Anderson, 1997). Yet despite the fair number of Neolithic sites in the region, surprisingly little has been done to elucidate dietary trends during this important period, particularly in the perhumid tropics. To counter this trend, human paleodiet is * Fax: 1-352-392-6929. E-mail address: [email protected]ﬂ.edu. directly assessed using stable carbon isotope data derived from human tooth enamel from three Neolithic sites in northern Borneo. Sites include Niah Cave (West Mouth), Gua Sireh, and Lubang Angin—all situated in the East Malaysian state of Sarawak (Fig. 1). Rain forest diet in prehistory can be viewed as eclectic in nature but such inferences are based mainly on supposition, rather than on associated ﬂoral and faunal evidence. Paleodiet approaches using stable carbon isotopes provides a fresh approach to explore prehistoric human subsistence patterns of tropical foraging populations in Southeast Asia, where other more traditional methods have proved inadequate. However, reconstructing diet using bones and tooth dentine from hot and humid environments is often hampered by poor preservation. Bone may be intact, but too often collagen is not preserved (e.g., Ambrose, 1990; Ambrose and Norr, 1992; Pate, 1997). Although the organic collagen fraction provides more biogeochemical signals to work 0278-4165/$ - see front matter Ó 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/S0278-4165(03)00041-2 J. Krigbaum / Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22 (2003) 292–304 293 Fig. 1. Map of Sarawak (East Malaysia) showing location of Neolithic sites included in this study. with (namely carbon and nitrogen isotopes), the absence of collagen limits isotopic study to carbon and oxygen (and strontium) of the inorganic, apatite portion of bone and teeth. Krueger and Sullivan (1984) demonstrated bone apatite carbonate accurately reﬂects the carbon isotope ratios of the diet. Bone apatite, however, is easily altered by postmortem diagenesis (Koch et al., 1994; Lee-Thorp and van der Merwe, 1991; Schoeninger et al., 1989). Tooth enamel, by contrast, is much more resistant to diagenesis (Wang and Cerling, 1994). The stable carbon isotope ratio derived from enamel provides a dietary ÔsignatureÕ of an individualÕs total food intake during the time of enamel formation, while those of bone collagen are biased toward the protein fraction of diet (Ambrose and Norr, 1993; Tieszen and Fagre, 1993). Because of its stability, tooth enamel apatite is the preferred material in paleodiet studies of vertebrate fossil remains (e.g., Kingston et al., 1994; Lee-Thorp, 2000; MacFadden, 2000; Quade et al., 1995). Prehistoric context The onset and adoption of agriculture by the earlymid Holocene in Southeast Asia fundamentally changed the cultural and ecological landscape. This transition from foraging to farming is certainly one of the most important behavioral advances in human prehistory (e.g., Harris, 1996). On mainland eastern Asia, the adoption of plant and animal domesticates into the subsistence regime occurred over a period of several millennia in localized centers along the Yangtze and Yellow River valleys (Glover and Higham, 1996; Higham, 1995; Lu, 1999). Here, foragers responding to an improving climate after the cooler Younger Dryas (ca. 11,000 years BP) began to transform their landscape and change their dietary pattern. To the south in the zone of the humid tropics, however, the forager-farmer transition is less well documented, and does not seem to have been so culturally revolutionary. There are very few pre-Neolithic sites from the lowland tropics that document pre-agricultural foraging economy. Further, at slightly more numerous Neolithic sites, it is not always clear what mode of subsistence is present based on materials recovered in the archaeological record. Rather, subsistence is more typically inferred based on associated faunal remains and artifacts. For example, the presence of earthenware pottery and ground stone tools tends to be identiﬁed with the Neolithic and thereby connotes potential presence of food production and increased sedentism. In part, this lack of subsistence data is a result of poor preservation of organic remains. It has therefore proved diﬃcult to assess subsistence systems with any degree of conﬁdence based on negative evidence and traditional archaeological techniques. 294 J. Krigbaum / Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22 (2003) 292–304 The development and adoption of the Neolithic in island Southeast Asia—its pattern and pulse—is a debated topic. The dominant paradigm is that championed by Bellwood (1996, 1997) whereby large-scale migration events of Austronesian-speaking peoples from a Taiwan homeland (ultimately from South China) branch out across wide tracts of island Southeast Asia, parts of Melanesia and on to Polynesia to the East and Southwest to Madagascar. Central to this diﬀusion hypothesis is a strong linguistic connection (Blust, 1995) centered on relationships between elements of proto-Austronesian coupled with elements of material culture and food production (Bellwood, 1997). Meachem (1984) and others (Oppenheimer, 1998; Solheim, 1996) argue against diﬀusion and for local evolution events with the adoption of material culture/agriculture rather than simply biological/cultural replacement via a major migration event. With respect to Borneo, one central concern regarding early Austronesian presence is the extent to which systematic food production was introduced. The climate of northern Borneo is tropical and perhumid, in contrast to more northern subtropical (monsoonal) areas where rice/millet food production originated. Another conundrum concerns the ethnogenesis of the Penan and related groups of extant hunter-gatherers (Brosius, 1991; Sellato, 1994). If Austronesians arrived Ôfully loadedÕ with agriculture, and there were no pre-Austronesian people present on Borneo, then forest hunting and gathering adaptations would be a secondary adaptation—as Hoﬀman (1986) states, they would be a product of devolution, regressing from an agricultural to a hunter-gatherer state of subsistence. Sather (1995) argues convincingly, however, that the Penan may indeed reﬂect a secondary foraging adaptation, but that the initial Austronesian subsistence economy would have had to have been diverse, incorporating aspects of maritime, cereal food production, cultivation of endemic fruit trees and root crops, and foraging forays along strand lines and hunting a diversity of medium-large mammals associated with perhumid rain forests. Devolution is far oﬀ the conceptual mark in terms of the adoption of secondary foraging as an adaptive subsistence regime (Brosius, 1991). ‘‘Broad spectrum’’ is a phrase commonly used to describe the diet of prehistoric people inhabiting rain forests with an eclectic dietary repertoire that may or may not include some form of systematic food production (e.g., Hutterer, 1988). Broad spectrum implies a continuum of sorts between pure foraging subsistence on one hand versus one with foraged foods supplemented by systematic tending of plants grown alongside their homes and in small systematically maintained swidden plots (Harris, 1989). Food remains at prehistoric sites tend to consist of fragmentary faunal remains representing a diverse array of vertebrate and invertebrate species common in rain forest and riverine/estuarine habitats (Bailey et al., 1989; Gorman, 1971; Medway, 1958; Medway, 1979). Although these remains are consistent with a hunting-based economy, the evidence seems to be diﬀerentially biased against the preservation of subsistence-related botanical remains (e.g., Hather, 1994). Further, as Harris (1989) has emphasized, characterizing the presence of ÔagricultureÕ is not always so clear-cut because the distinction between wild plant foraging and the cultivation of plant foods is likely one that diﬀered by degrees along a continuum. Broad spectrum subsistence therefore might be inferred based on analyses of faunal remains recovered even if farming to one degree or another was practiced. There is a simple explanation for this. During and after agricultureÕs presence in the region, hunting and gathering continued to be an important dietary component for many groups, including those who were involved to some degree on subsistence farming (e.g., Headland and Reid, 1989; Junker, 1996; Sather, 1995). Others likely opted not to participate in food production in the strict sense. Such circumstances, it could be argued, are more commonplace in areas less conducive to growing agricultural crops. In tropical Southeast Asia, therefore, it has been diﬃcult to identify the foraging-farming transition, much less characterize it as either a synchronized phenomenon or a dramatic, punctuated event. The sites There are three key Neolithic sites in the East Malaysian state of Sarawak in northern Borneo (Fig. 1). All sites are situated in karst limestone terrain and primary rain forest. All contain aspects of material culture and mortuary ritual that are characteristic of the Neolithic period in the Indo-Malaysian archipelago (Bellwood, 1992, 1997). Table 1 lists the most recent compendium of uncalibrated 14 C dates for each siteÕs Holocene component. Fig. 2 charts their 2 SD range (2r), providing a rough picture of site chronology. Niah Cave. For many years, SarawakÕs prehistory was based principally on the ﬁndings from Niah CaveÕs West Mouth (Harrisson, 1972). The West Mouth is part of an extensive 13 km2 limestone massif receiving capital attention both for its sheer size and the extent of archaeological excavations conducted there over the past 50 years. It has produced one of the largest archaeological assemblages yet excavated in island Southeast Asia with both late Pleistocene and Holocene cultural contexts well represented (Barker et al., 2000, 2002, in press; Bellwood, 1997; Harrisson, 1957, 1959a, 1972; Krigbaum, 2001; Zuraina, 1982). Recent analysis of all available good Holocene 14 C dates from charcoal and coﬃn wood demonstrate a 4000+ year gap in the sequence between the late/termi- J. Krigbaum / Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22 (2003) 292–304 Table 1 Uncalibrated Holocene Lab/sampleb 14 C dates for Niah Cave (West Mouth)a , Gua Sireh, and Lubang Angin (Sarawak, East Malaysia) Burial/provenience Niah Cave (West Mouth) GX-4836 N/A GX-4917 N/A GrN-7204C 75 (extended) AA-27957 50 (extended) GX-1428 159 (burnt) GrN-7202 75 (extended) GrN-1905 N/A GrN-1907 60C (multiple) GX-0721 60C (multiple) GX-4837 N/A Gua Sireh M-1029 ANU-7046 CAMS-721 Pit c/10 (6’’) G8N, layer 2 89A, layer 3 ANU-7047 CAMS-725 G8N, layer 3 F8S, 20–25 cm ANU-7049 A-283 ANU-7045 (B) G8N, layer 4/6 [20–25 (2)] G8N, layer 7/8 [20–25 (I)] ANU-7050 G8N, layer 9 (top) [35–40] Lubang Angin ANU-7044 295 LA3 [N] 40 cm CAMS-727 LA-3 CAMS-728 LA-6-1 CAMS-729 LA-6-2 Sample material d13 Cc 14 Charcoal Charcoal Burial matting Charcoal ‘‘Rotted’’ wood Coﬃn wood Charcoal Coﬃn wood Coﬃn wood Charcoal N/A N/A N/A )27.0 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 9885 175 8565 240 3495 100 3285 50 3175 105 3080 40 2700 70 2695 65 2620 220 1635 115 1 2, 4 3 5 4 7, 7, 6 2, Charcoal Charcoal Rice husk in sherd Charcoal Rice grain in sherd Charcoal Charcoal Freshwater shell, Brotia sp. Freshwater shell, Brotia sp. N/A )19.3 0.2 N/A 425 150 990 130 1480 260 9 10, 11 10, 12 )18.8 0.2 N/A 3300 190 3850 260 10, 11 10, 12 N/A N/A )12.3 0.4 3990 230 4480 100 5290 80 10, 11 13 10, 11 )11.6 0.4 5610 80 10, 11 )10.4 0.4 2400 135d 10, 11 N/A 1650 90 10 N/A 1960 90 10 N/A 2200 120 10 Marine shell, Batissa sp. Human bone ‘‘collagen’’ Human bone ‘‘collagen’’ Human bone ‘‘apatite’’ C Age B.P. Refse 3 8 8 3 a Only ‘‘good’’ charcoal dates included for Niah Cave (West Mouth), not including dates in Barker et al. (2002, in press). Lab codes: GX, Geochron; GrN, Groningen (nb. ‘‘C’’ suﬃx indicates correction to original date); AA, University of Arizona AMS; M, University of Michigan; ANU, Australian National University; CAMS, Lawrence Livermore AMS Facility; A, University of Arizona. ANU 14 C dates have been updated based on ANU Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory corrections, via personal communication with Peter Bellwood (ANU). [ ], information on ANU 14 C reports. ANU d13 C values reported where possible courtesy Peter Bellwood. c 13 d C values determined for ‘‘AA’’ AMS dates. d Original calculated date ¼ 2850 100 years BP. Date listed is corrected for oceanic reservoir eﬀect following Gillespie and Polach (1979). e References: 1, Zuraina (1982); 2, unpublished (courtesy Zuraina Majid); 3, Krigbaum (2001), 4, Harrisson (1975), 5, Harrisson (1968), 6, Harrisson (1967), 7, Vogel and Waterbolk (1963), 8, Harrisson (1959b), 9, Crane and Griﬀen (1962), 10, Ipoi and Bellwood (1991); 11, Ipoi (1993), 12, Bellwood et al. (1992); 13, Damon et al. (1963). b nal Pleistocene and mid-Holocene (Fig. 2). Although sample size of charcoal is small (Table 1), the lack of 14 C dates and their error range overlapping the period 8000– 4000 years BP suggests a hiatus in human use of the cave that may be both environmental and cultural in nature (Krigbaum, 2001). If this gap is real, it may be indicative of a natural transition/replacement in human populations from pre-Austronesian to Austronesian. Addi- tionally, mid-Holocene ecological constraints could have made the site less conducive to habitation. By Neolithic times, the site was used primarily as a place for mortuary ritual and a respite rather than a habitation site, as was its function during the late Pleistocene/early Holocene (Bellwood, 1997; Krigbaum, 2001). The Neolithic component at Niah Cave (after ca. 3500 years BP) is fairly well dated. It is characterized by 296 J. Krigbaum / Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22 (2003) 292–304 Fig. 2. Uncalibrated Holocene 14 C dates for Niah Cave (West Mouth), Gua Sireh, and Lobang Angin. Dates are plotted with 2 SD range (2r). Only charcoal dates for Niah Cave (West Mouth) are plotted (see Table 1 for details). a number of elaborate primary and secondary burials associated with pottery and polished stone tools. The Neolithic human burial series, as classiﬁed by Barbara Harrisson (1967), includes Extended primary inhumations usually in coﬃns and/or wrapping, Burnt secondary burials (usually in earthenware jars), and Cremation secondary burials (partially to fully calcined). Fragmentary faunal remains show evidence of a diverse hunting regime, dominated by wild boar, porcupine, and a variety of primates (Medway, 1958, 1979). However, distinguishing subsistence remains between pre-Neolithic and Neolithic contexts is near impossible because of extreme mixing of subsurface levels due to concentrated mortuary activity. Gua Sireh. Gua Sireh is an important archaeological site in eastern Sarawak. Since the 1950s, this site has received steadfast attention by aﬃliates at the Sarawak Museum, however not until Ipoi Datan and Peter Bellwood conducted systematic ﬁeld excavations was a proper publication prepared (Ipoi, 1993; Ipoi and Bellwood, 1991). A number of 14 C dates have been run on organic materials from this site (Table 1). Of note is an AMS date of 3850 260 14 C years BP (ca. 4200 years BP) obtained on rice husk inclusions (as temper) in pottery that represent the earliest date for the presence of rice in island Southeast Asia (Bellwood et al., 1992). The presence of rice at Gua Sireh has also been conﬁrmed in sediments (Beavitt et al., 1996). Several extended human burials were recovered which date to the Neolithic/Early Metal Period. An open question at present is whether Gua SirehÕs Neolithic assemblage reﬂects the early presence of Austronesian speaking peoples, Austroasiatic expansion from mainland Southeast Asia, or both. As evident in Fig. 2 with the range of Gua Sireh dates, a Neolithic phase that slightly precedes that at Niah Cave is plausible. Lubang Angin. Another small site excavated recently (Ipoi, 1993; Ipoi and Bellwood, 1991) is Lubang Angin located in the interior of Sarawak within Mulu National Park, not far from the present Brunei border. Here terrain is more rugged and mountainous and habitat more varied then at the lowland sites of Niah Cave or Gua Sireh. Social links with Niah Cave are suggested, based on ﬁndings of material culture and burial conﬁguration. Contact with the coast is indicated by the presence of marine shell. Based on bone and shell 14 C dates, Lubang Angin reﬂects human presence towards the later stages of the Neolithic/Early Metal Period (Table 1, Fig. 2). Isotopic variations in dietary resources and natural environments Human teeth recovered from these Neolithic sites permit paleodietary analysis to be performed, here focusing chieﬂy on the stable isotopes of carbon and oxygen within the tooth enamel. Isotopes of a given element diﬀer in the number of neutrons present in their nuclei, and this inﬂuences their atomic weight. There are three isotopes of carbon, one unstable and radioactive (14 C), and thus subject to change, and two stable (13 C and 12 C), whose masses are unchanged over time. Differences in 13 C/12 C ratios of dietary resources permit stable isotope analysis of bone and tooth tissues in paleodietary studies. There are two dominant isotopes of oxygen (18 O and 16 O), both stable, whose isotopic ratio 18 O/16 O may be used as a proxy for temperaturedependent biological systems. The abundance of stable isotopes within a given sample—its isotopic ratio—is compared to the ratio of a known standard. The ﬁnal calculated ratio—the delta J. Krigbaum / Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22 (2003) 292–304 C-13 value (d13 C) is expressed in parts per thousand or per mil (‰) diﬀerence from a standard. In delta notation, the equation used to express the isotope ratios of a sample A relative to a standard is as follows: dAð‰Þ ¼ ðRsample Rsample =Rstd Þ 1000 or ¼ ðRsample =Rstd 1Þ 1000; where R is 13 C/12 C or 18 O/16 O, and the standards are the Peedee Formation belemnite (PDB) and standard mean ocean water (SMOW), respectively. Diﬀerences in mass inﬂuence the chemical reaction rate of each isotope: lighter isotopes (i.e., those with fewer neutrons) are more mobile and react faster than heavier ones. Complex physiological and environmental factors either select for or discriminate against heavier isotopes over lighter ones, and result in systematic isotopic variations in nature (Hoefs, 1997). This fundamental phenomenon, referred to as fractionation, causes subtle, but measurable diﬀerences in isotope abundance in biogenic materials that can be related to biological processes such as photosynthesis, food metabolism, and temperature (Ambrose, 1993; Koch et al., 1994; Pate, 1994; Schoeninger, 1995; Schoeninger and Moore, 1992; Schwarcz, 2000). Data are obtained using mass spectrometry, and the overall standard deviation of analyses is less than 0.05‰ for carbon and 0.2‰ for oxygen. Stable carbon isotopes can distinguish between terrestrial plants that follow diﬀerent photosynthetic pathways. The two principal pathways involve C3 and C4 plants. Most terrestrial plants, including trees, herbs, shrubs, temperate and high altitude grasses, follow the C3 pathway. Their d13 C values average )27‰ and show a broad range, between ca. )20‰ to )35‰ (OÕLeary, 297 1981; OÕLeary, 1988). C4 plants include arid-adapted grasses and sedges. They average )12.5‰, and have a narrower range between ca. )7‰ to )6‰. Signiﬁcantly, the values of these two groups of plants do not overlap. In this study, it is the broad isotopic range of C3 plants that is of interest as C4 cultigens were likely an insigniﬁcant component of the diet in prehistoric Borneo. Fig. 3 outlines the canopy eﬀect phenomenon and its inﬂuence on d13 C values in closed vs. open forest conditions. Average values for C3 plants, occur at the top of the canopy, where modern CO2 is ca. )7.8‰. However, in closed canopy forests, more negative values occur in the understory because of the contribution of biogenic CO2 from C3 plant root respiration and soil organic matter decomposition. Decreasing d13 C values in leaves and air have been documented along a vertical gradient from canopy top to forest ﬂoor in every ecosystem studied (e.g., Ambrose, 1993; Heaton, 1999; Krigbaum, 2001; Medina and Minchin, 1980; van der Merwe and Medina, 1989, 1991; Vogel, 1978). Within the forest, CO2 is most negative near the forest ﬂoor, with d13 C values as low as )14‰ in deep tropical forests (van der Merwe and Medina, 1989, 1991). Contributing to this is soil-respired CO2 , which is considerably depleted in 13 C (compared to air), with more negative d13 C values ranging from )25‰ to )28‰ (Jackson et al., 1993; Vogel, 1978). The decreasing leaf d13 C values of the canopy eﬀect are likely a result of two interdependent factors: (1) decreased light levels, or irradiance, due to closed canopy conditions (e.g., Broadmeadow and Griﬃths, 1993; Ehleringer et al., 1986); and (2) recycled CO2 becoming incorporated within the plants of the understory (e.g., Sternberg et al., 1989; Vogel, 1978). These same isotopic trends have been documented in Fig. 3. Generalized model of d13 C variation in closed and open conditions. Low irradiance and recycled CO2 result in lower d13 C values in air, soil, and vegetation in contrast to more open areas where there is high irradiance and no recycling of CO2 . Open areas tend to have C3 plants that are near the average for C3 vegetation (ca. )27‰). In closed areas, understory vegetation is signiﬁcantly depleted in 13 C and C3 vegetation has more negative values ( 6 )30‰). Adapted from Quade et al. (1995) and Jackson et al. (1993). 298 J. Krigbaum / Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22 (2003) 292–304 endemic plant foods and cultigens collected under varying degrees of forest closure in Sarawak (Krigbaum, 2001). Freshwater aquatic systems tend to follow a C3 -like pathway, however, carbon in dissolved CO2 can come from any number of sources (detritus of carbonate rocks, mineral springs, atmospheric CO2 , recycled organic matter) and d13 C values may vary widely as a result of these complex factors (Peterson and Fry, 1987). Marine phytoplankton also follow the C3 pathway, their source carbon being dissolved CO2 in seawater, a product of bicarbonate. In general, the d13 C of marine plants reﬂects the equilibrium oﬀset observed between atmospheric CO2 and marine bicarbonate (ca. )7‰). Whereas terrestrial plants average )27‰, marine plankton have d13 C values that average between )19‰ and )21‰ (Ambrose, 1993). A plantÕs isotopic composition is maintained in the food chain by a series of fractionation events—positive shifts, or oﬀsets in d13 C value—especially between plants and their primary consumers. The old adage ‘‘you are what you eat’’ is accurate with respect to carbon, and depending upon what tissue is analyzed, one adds the appropriate oﬀset to interpret the results. For example, the oﬀset of tooth enamel is between 9.5‰ for carnivores to 14‰ for ruminant herbivores (Ambrose and Norr, 1993; Cerling and Harris, 1999; Koch et al., 1994; Krueger and Sullivan, 1984). Based on these ﬁgures, tooth enamel values would be expected to fall anywhere between )17‰ and )13‰ for a pure C3 vegetarian diet. This variation in spacing has often been interpreted as a trophic level eﬀect (Krueger and Sullivan, 1984; LeeThorp et al., 1989). However, if the large oﬀset for herbivores is related to isotopic eﬀects of methanogenesis by symbiotic digestive bacteria in large herbivores (Ambrose et al., 1997; Schwarcz, 2000), then the 9.5‰ oﬀset may be more appropriate for humans. Consumers in closed forest habitats similarly reﬂect the canopy eﬀect in their biological tissues. Preliminary isotopic analysis of the Niah Cave fauna (Krigbaum, 2001) demonstrates a consistent pattern of increasingly negative d13 C values (ca. )18‰ to )14‰) among omnivorous browsers such as barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), mouse deer (Tragulus napu), the grazer banteng (Bos javanicus), and omnivorous bearded pig (Sus barbatus). Although not as dramatically negative as the consistent browser okapi (Okapia) from the Ituri Forest with d13 C values from )22‰ to )20‰ reported by Cerling and Harris (1999), the Niah Cave fauna both taxonomically and isotopically do document a closed canopy setting (Krigbaum, 2001). A number of diverse studies demonstrate a similar pattern. Schoeninger and colleagues (1997) examined arboreal New World monkeys distinguishing preferred habitat using stable carbon isotopes derived from hair samples. Primate taxa (Alouatta and Cebus) with con- sistently less negative d13 C values were adapted to drier, deciduous forest, whereas, those taxa inhabiting perhumid forest (Ateles and Brachyteles) exhibited more negative d13 C values, indicative of increased water stress in drier habitats. Froment and Ambrose (1995) studied diﬀerent human populations in Cameroon inhabiting equatorial rain forest, but participating in diﬀerent modes of subsistence from hunting and gathering to food production. Sampling hair, d13 C values for interior groups were from )28‰ to )23‰ with the huntergatherer groups not involved in agriculture consistently more negative in isotopic value. Materials and methods Three adults were sampled from Lubang Angin, ﬁve from Gua Sireh, and 28 Neolithic burials from Niah Cave (West Mouth). Selected human tooth enamel samples (M3s preferred) were cleaned of adhering debris and dentine using a Dremel tool with a carbide bit and inspected under a binocular microscope prior to grinding. Cleaned tooth enamel was oxidized in a 2% solution of Clorox for about 16 h to remove humic acids and organics; rinsed in distilled H2 O to normal pH and pretreated with 0.1 M acetic acid for 16 h to remove any diagenetic and adsorbed secondary carbonates, and rinsed again to normal pH with distilled H2 O. Samples were then lyophilized (freeze-dried) and converted to CO2 by reaction with 100% phosphoric acid for 2 h at 90 °C. After passing the evolved CO2 through a silver phosphate trap to remove contaminant sulphur (evolved H2 S or SO2 ), the CO2 gas was collected by cryogenic distillation. Stable isotope ratios for carbon and oxygen derived from tooth enamel apatite (structural carbonate) were then measured on a Finnigan MAT 251 mass spectrometer at Yale UniversityÕs Stable Isotope Laboratory. Percent carbon yields were determined by regression coeﬃcients based on repeated trials of the NBS 19 carbonate standard. Results and discussion The human tooth enamel d13 C results for Neolithic Niah Cave (West Mouth), Gua Sireh, and Lubang Angin are presented in Tables 2–4. Fig. 4 presents all individual data with d13 C values plotted along the x axis and oxygen isotope values (d18 O) along the y axis. d18 O values aid in the partitioning of the data. The Niah Neolithic results are presented by burial type, sexes pooled. Table 5 lists the descriptive statistics for d13 C and d18 O (N, mean, standard deviation, range), and includes pre-Neolithic individuals (N ¼ 15), not presented in this study (Krigbaum, submitted). Focusing on the stable carbon isotope values, collectively these data J. Krigbaum / Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22 (2003) 292–304 299 Table 2 d13 C and d18 O results (tooth enamel apatite) for Neolithic human burials from Niah Cave (West Mouth), by burial ‘‘type’’ Burial No.a Tooth Ageb Sex Burial typec d13 C (‰ PDB) d18 O (‰ SMOW) % C Yieldd 3 10 36 40 41 45 48 50 57 60A 60C 68 75 102 104 110 115 123 126 128 133 164 49 96 30 53 103B 129 LM3 LM3 LM3 LM3 LM3 LM3 LM3 RM3 RM3 RM3 LM3 LM3 LM3 LM3 LM3 ?LM2 RM3 RM3 LM3 LM3 RM3 LM3 LM3 RM3 LM2 RM3 RM3 RM3 M.A. M.A. M.A. Y.A. A M.A. A M.A. M.A. M.A. M.A. M.A. Y.A. Y.A. O.C. M.A. Y.A. Y.A. M.A. Y.A. Y.A. A A Y.A. A A M.A. Y.A. M F F M ? F ? F M M F F F F ?F F M F M M F ? ? F ? ?M ?M F Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Multiple Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Extended Cremation Cremation Burnt Burnt Burnt Burnt )11.9 )13.0 )12.7 )13.8 )13.6 )12.8 )13.6 )13.7 )13.7 )13.5 )12.6 )14.7 )12.3 )13.1 )13.5 )12.2 )11.3 )14.7 )13.3 )14.0 )13.3 )13.5 )12.0 )12.7 )13.7 )13.3 )14.8 )13.0 23.9 23.7 24.3 22.5 24.1 24.2 22.9 23.4 24.0 24.3 23.3 23.8 23.7 23.9 23.5 23.5 22.9 23.8 23.1 24.8 23.7 23.7 24.6 24.8 24.6 24.2 23.2 23.6 0.76 0.63 0.71 0.65 0.69 0.62 0.65 0.59 0.67 0.62 0.62 0.24* 0.61 0.64 0.56 0.68 0.61 0.38* 0.59 0.45 0.59 0.67 0.62 0.57 0.69 0.63 0.55 0.57 a Burial Nos. assigned by excavators (Harrisson, 1967). Age categories as follows: ‘‘O.C.’’, older child (13–18); ‘‘Y.A.’’, young adult (18–35); ‘‘M.A.’’, middle adult (35–55); ‘‘A’’, adult. c Burial ‘‘type’’ as assigned by excavators (Harrisson, 1967). d Results producing low % C yields are indicated with an asterisk, and their d13 C and d18 O values are italicized. b Table 3 Gua Sireh d13 C and d18 O results (tooth enamel apatite) for Neolithic/Early Metal (?) human burials Tooth Age Sex Burial type d13 C (‰ PDB) d18 O (‰ SMOW) % C Yield M3 M3 M3 M3 M3 A A A A A ? ? ? ? ? ?Extended ?Extended ?Extended ?Extended ?Extended )13.3 )13.0 )11.9 )12.5 )13.3 22.6 22.6 23.6 23.6 25.1 0.61 0.62 0.62 0.64 0.60 Table 4 Lubang Angin d13 C and d18 O results (tooth enamel apatite) for Neolithic/Early Metal (?) human burials Tooth Age Sex Burial type d13 C (‰ PDB) d18 O (‰ SMOW) % C Yield M3 M3 M3 A A A ? ? ? Extended Extended Extended )14.3 )14.6 )14.2 24.2 23.6 23.5 0.66 0.59 0.66 300 J. Krigbaum / Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22 (2003) 292–304 Fig. 4. d18 OSMOW and values d13 CPDB values (tooth enamel apatite) for Neolithic Niah Cave (West Mouth), Gua Sireh, and Lubang Angin. Table 5 Descriptive statistics for human d13 C and d18 O results (tooth enamel) by site including pre-Neolithic Niah Cave (West Mouth) for comparison (see Fig. 5) Pre-Neolithic d13 C (‰ PDB) N Mean SD Range d18 O (‰ SMOW) N Mean SD Range Neolithic Niah Cave Niah Cave Lubang Angin Gua Sireh 15 )14.4 0.85 )15.7 to )12.2 28 )13.2 0.84 )14.8 to )11.3 3 )14.4 0.19 )14.6 to )14.2 5 )12.8 0.60 )13.3 to )11.9 15 24.2 1.11 21.9–26.2 28 23.8 0.58 22.5–24.8 show a diet dependent on C3 foodstuﬀs. Lubang Angin individuals show an average of )14.4‰, Gua Sireh individuals have less negative d13 C values, averaging )12.8‰, and Niah Neolithic burials average )13.2‰. Fig. 5 plots the tooth enamel isotopic data by mean and standard deviation, based on the summary data presented in Table 5. This permits more clear temporal distinction between pre-Neolithic and Neolithic d13 C values at Niah Cave, and demonstrates how the Lubang Angin individuals clearly cluster with the mean d13 C values characteristic of the pre-Neolithic Niah Cave sample. Gua Sireh individuals, in contrast, cluster with the less negative Neolithic Niah Cave sample. StudentÕs t test applied to these results are statistically signiﬁcant at the .01 level—between sites for the Neolithic remains, and within Niah for the pre-Neolithic vs. Neolithic remains sampled. 3 23.8 0.35 23.5–24.2 5 23.5 1.01 22.6–25.1 Several factors might account for these shifts towards less negative d13 C values. A shift might occur with increased consumption of estuarine/maritime food resources (e.g., Chisholm et al., 1982). Although this seems unlikely based on current knowledge of the fauna from Niah Cave (bearded pig, porcupines, orang utans, and monkeys), there is no doubt that invertebrates obtained from coastal mangrove habitats (and riverine freshwater habitats, for that matter) comprised part of the Neolithic diet of individuals recovered from Niah Cave. Further, the study by Rodelli and colleagues (1984) underscores the fact that estuarine foodstuﬀs have terrestrial d13 C values with minimal mixing of marine carbon. Another potential explanation is the adoption of C4 cultigens into the diet—probably not as a staple but as an important supplement. Two likely candidates are J. Krigbaum / Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22 (2003) 292–304 301 Fig. 5. Mean and SDs for d18 OSMOW and d13 CPDB values (tooth enamel apatite) for pre-Neolithic Niah Cave, Neolithic Niah Cave (West Mouth), Gua Sireh, and Lubang Angin (see Table 5). JobÕs tears (Coix lachryma-jobi) and foxtail millet (Setaria italica). For several diﬀerent reasons, mostly related to plant biogeography and climate, it is unlikely these subtropical C4 cereal grains factored signiﬁcantly into the diet of Neolithic people in perhumid Borneo (Arora, 1977; Bellwood, 1997; Burkill, 1966). A more plausible explanation for the increase in d13 C values is that of increased reliance on plant foods grown in more open conditions. A continuum of sorts can be postulated between those individuals that can be characterized by closed forest foraging (more negative d13 C values) and those characterized by open forest horticulture (less negative d13 C values). The range of d13 C variation by burial type at Niah suggests a number of diﬀerent subsistence patterns are represented in the Niah Neolithic sequence (Krigbaum, submitted). Niah Cave may reﬂect a central hub for mid-late Holocene Austronesian groups, but the people that buried their dead at Niah Cave during the Neolithic likely lived elsewhere, and were involved in food production/collection systems to one degree or another. The positive trend in d13 C values observed at Gua Sireh also seems to reﬂect food production, but the extent to which Gua Sireh is culturally related to Neolithic Niah Cave remains an open question. The earlier Neolithic dates at Gua Sireh, and the unambiguous presence of rice at that site, suggests potential Austroasiatic contact with mainland Southeast Asia (Beavitt et al., 1996; Bellwood, 1997). Aside from potential cultural aﬃliations, however, human groups were literally making their mark on the landscape during the Holocene (Maloney, 1998). Inferred subsistence regimes in this study likely involved modiﬁcation of the landscape or use of natural clearings to foster growth of certain food plant species. Paleobotanical studies in the region underscore the striking impact prehistoric human groups had on the landscape (e.g., Maloney, 1980; Stuijts, 1993). Individuals at Lubang Angin have more negative isotopic values more in line with closed forest foraging, which may well reﬂect their adaptation to a secondary foraging subsistence strategy more akin to pre-cultigen broad spectrum subsistence inferred for the pre-Neolithic Niah Cave sample. In general, interior Sarawak is an area where various Penan groups and their predecessors followed a nomadic existence dependent on wild forest resources including hill sago (Eugeissona utilis) and a variety of hunted game, mainly bearded pig (Sus barbatus) (Brosius, 1991). Estuarine food resources were not accessible and trade with neighboring agriculturalists likely occurred, but probably did not include subsistence items in return for forest resources (Brosius, 1991; Sather, 1995). Conclusions Broad spectrum subsistence implies a generalized hunting, gathering, and ﬁshing-based resource sphere where any number of foods may be eaten including wild root crops, vegetables, nuts, fruits, honey, and harvested/hunted invertebrates (snails, shellﬁsh, insects, etc.) and vertebrates (ﬁsh, reptiles, mammals). In tropical Southeast Asia, broad spectrum subsistence likely characterized many hunter-gatherer groups and continued up to and after the origins of agriculture in the region (Bellwood, 1997; Sather, 1995). Certainly there are still hunter-gatherer groups in Southeast Asia, isolated from neighboring agricultural groups, who conform more or less to this pattern of subsistence (Brosius, 1991; Dentan, 1991; Eder, 1988; Endicott, 1984; Headland, 1987; Sellato, 1994). However, the bias everpresent in 302 J. Krigbaum / Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 22 (2003) 292–304 the archaeological record in lowland tropical contexts needs to be repeatedly checked with new analytical methods and questions. Stable isotopic data presented here oﬀers one fresh perspective with which to infer new patterns of prehistoric human subsistence patterns. Early food production in the Neolithic of Borneo likely involved endemic plants and fruits and potentially non-native items such as rice (Oryza sativa). The early Neolithic settlers in Borneo clearly had an eclectic subsistence, one that can be generalized as broad spectrum based on the ecological context of the site and the faunal remains recovered in the archaeological record. However, isotopic analysis using stable isotopes from tooth enamel demonstrate greater heterogeneity of diet that is signiﬁcant with respect to inferring diet and constructing models for prehistoric subsistence and settlement. Neolithic groups were faced with new challenges which may well have involved adaptations towards secondary foraging and/or systematic food production and collection. These trends in diet likely reﬂect patterns that mirror larger, more fundamental aspects of subsistence, settlement, and mobility. Interpreting these data along a continuum between closed forest foraging and open forest horticulture may help us better understand the complexities of this record. Acknowledgments I thank the Sarawak Museum ﬁrst and foremost, particularly Ipoi Datan, Sanib Said, and Edmund Kurui, for their interest in prehistory and permitting me access to the Niah Cave collection. Further appreciation goes to Sheilagh and Richard Brooks and Bernardo Arriaza (Univ. Nevada, Las Vegas) for their generous hospitality while examining Niah Cave remains in their care. A number of colleagues and reviewers have contributed to the content of this paper, most importantly I would like to acknowledge John Kingston, Terry Harrison, Stanley Ambrose, and Jessica Manser. Funding was provided by pre-dissertation grants from WennerGren and NSF. A preliminary version of this paper was presented at the 66th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (April 2001) in the sponsored symposium ‘‘Pioneer in Paleodiet and the Radiocarbon Dating of Bone: Papers in Honor of Hal Krueger’’ organized by the author and Stanley Ambrose. References cited Ambrose, S.H., 1990. Preparation and characterization of bone and tooth collagen for isotopic analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science 17, 431–451. Ambrose, S.H., 1993. Isotopic analysis of paleodiets: methodological and interpretive considerations. In: Sandford, M.K. (Ed.), Investigations of Ancient Human Tissue: Chemical Analyses in Anthropology. Gordon & Breach, New York, pp. 59–130. 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