TARL Seminars TARL seminar 24 May 2024

TARL seminar 24 May 2024

We built this city on rock and soul: Stable isotope analysis reveals hidden histories of individuals beneath the walls of Halin.

Presenter: Dr Anna Willis

Abstract: Recently, stable carbon and oxygen isotope analysis of human and faunal tooth enamel has provided an alternative means to examine subsistence practices in ancient Myanmar - in the absence of archaeobotanical evidence and where preservation of biological collagen is poor in skeletal remains.

Here, we report the results of stable isotope analysis of individuals from the UNESCO World Heritage site, Halin, discovered during excavations undertaken by Mission Archéologique Française au Myanmar – MAFM (2017-2020). Spanning the Neolithic to the Pyu period, Halin provides an opportunity to examine changes in subsistence practices that were not apparent in previous work undertaken at the Neolithic to early Bronze Age communities from Myanmar, Oakaie and Nyaung’gan. Revealing the hidden history beneath the walls of Halin, the results of the stable isotope analysis of the individuals hint at a temporal shift in the subsistence economy likely associated with water management and the intensification of irrigated agriculture during the Iron Age.

Situated within the local environmental and broader regional context, we present new insight into community subsistence practices at the ancient citadel of Halin, Myanmar.