Reconstructing migration : using isotopic analysis to examine ancient Maya mobility in Northwestern Belize
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Isotopic analysis has proven to be beneficial to the field of archaeology, aiding in the understanding of changing climatic conditions, diet, and mobility. This report proposes the use of Oxygen and Strontium isotope ratios to understand migration patterns of the Ancient Maya within the Program for Belize Archaeological Project (PfBAP) research area in northwestern Belize. Research seeks to first identify immigrants and then try to understand sociopolitical factors that may have influenced population movement as well as the consequences of that movement upon a region. Currently, our understanding of mobility and migration within this region is severely lacking. This report presents a general background on migration in archaeology as well as a general background on oxygen and strontium isotopes, their application to the field of archaeology, and how isotopic ratios can shed light on possible reasons for population movement. Additionally, this report outlines a protocol for each isotopic system and proposes future research for the PfBAP region.