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Reindeer migration routes during the Late Glacial period: an interdisciplinary study

PD. Dr. Berit Eriksen, Prof. Dr. T. Douglas Price, Dr. Elena Nikulina, Dr. Mara-Julia Weber, Dr. Ulrich Schmölcke

Reindeer illustration

© Illustration: Bodil Bratlund

Reindeer teethSome years ago, T. Douglas Price, Klaus Bokelmann and Anne Pike-Tay published a scientific article in which, for the first time, results were presented of analyses of strontium isotopes in Late Ice Age reindeer bones recovered from the localities of Stellmoor and Meiendorf (Price, T.D., Bokelmann, K., Pike-Tay, A.: Late Palaeolithic reindeer on the north European plain. In Z. Sulgostowska & A.J. Tomaszewski (eds.): Man – Millennia – Environment. Studies in honour of Romuald Schild,  pp. 123-131, Warsaw 2008).  As this pilot study produced promising results, and the Sr-isotope analyses demonstrated a potential to provide far-reaching insights into the migration behaviour of an animal species that was so very important to Late Ice Age people, consolidation and extension of these investigations is currently being carried out at the ZBSA. Against the background of the current general archaeological interpretation of Late Glacial cultures in Central and Western Europe, and using a combination of several methods, it is aimed to arrive at a precise reconstruction of the migration behaviour of the reindeer. Furthermore, in parallel with analyses of strontium isotopes in the teeth, the archaeo-genetic evidence will be examined and the radiocarbon age determined.

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