2016 Volume 124 Issue 3 Pages 185-197
The life history of a female individual skeleton (ST61) from the Edo period (AD 1603–1868) was investigated by using multi-tissue and multi-isotope analyses. Her gravestone and historical documents revealed that ST61 was a grandmother of a chief retainer of the Akashi clan who died in 1732 aged 77 years. Radiocarbon and sulfur stable isotope analyses indicated that the contribution of marine foods to the ST61 diet was relatively low (17.2% protein) despite the relatively higher nitrogen isotope ratio of the rib bone collagen. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of the serial section of tooth dentin along the growth lines indicated that breast milk was not the major protein source of ST61 after roughly 1–1.5 years of age, although this weaning pattern was not evident from the oxygen stable isotope ratios of her tooth enamel serial sections. The carbon stable isotopes in tooth dentin collagen and tooth enamel apatite suggested that her diet from 0.5 to 5 years of age possibly contained a small proportion of C4 plants. Stable isotope ratios of the rib bone and the tooth dentin collagen differed, consistent with historical documents describing a residential change at the age of 27. The calibrated radiocarbon ages of the associated rice hull were at least 80–120 years older than the year of death of ST61. Sulfur stable isotope ratio of the rice hull suggested that fish fertilizers might have been used for paddy rice at that time. Multi-tissue and multi-isotope analyses can provide information of several kinds from different time windows even from an individual skeleton.