Jelmer W. Eerkens

Jelmer W. Eerkens
University of California, Davis | UCD · Department of Anthropology

PhD

About

145
Publications
88,700
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3,444
Citations
Citations since 2017
45 Research Items
1744 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250300
2017201820192020202120222023050100150200250300
Additional affiliations
July 2003 - present
University of California, Davis
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (145)
Chapter
Full-text available
Introduction The present study is a bioarchaeological investigation of the skeletal remains from burial 2 found in the Pologi kurgan 1. Bioarchaeology is an integrative discipline that utilizes a variety of methods and cross-cultural research tools to draw out a wealth of information about the health, lifestyle, and diet of an individual or populat...
Chapter
Tracking long term-trends in human behavior, particularly material culture, has long been recognized as a strength of archaeological studies. In the 1800s and a good portion of the 1900s, a major focus of archaeological studies centered on tracing large-scale changes in material culture over large geographic regions. The focus was generally on phen...
Article
Full-text available
Roman-period six-sided dice are common in archaeological sites across Europe. While some dice approach true cubes, many are visibly non-cubic (i.e., asymmetric/lopsided) and favor certain rolls, especially the numbers 1 and 6. It is unclear if such dice were intentional and distinctive “types” used in specific games or activities, represent “cheate...
Article
Stable isotope analysis has become routine in bioarchaeology and is used to reconstruct diet because it allows comparisons at inter- and intra-individual, as well as at population scales. Isotopic variation between individuals within a population is sometimes attributed to social status, or economic or subsistence specialization. However, we demons...
Conference Paper
The search for the precise landing spot of Sir Francis Drake on the western coast of North America has lasted nearly two centuries. The discovery of 16th century Ming Dynasty porcelain and other non-native artifacts at modern-day Point Reyes National Seashore has long been at the center of "Drakes Bay" controversy. This paper presents new archaeome...
Article
Sacramento perch (Archoplites interruptus), ubiquitous in the archaeological record throughout Central California, is now extirpated from the California Delta. Descriptions of Sacramento perch ecology, biology, and behaviour are either from relocated or declining populations. Archaeological specimens have the potential to provide insight on Sacrame...
Article
Biomolecular sex estimation promises to fill a major gap in the bioarchaeological record by providing estimates of biological sex for skeletal remains with degraded or ambiguous osteological sex-specific markers. Genomic and proteomic sex estimation, like all analytical methods, have limitations and require frameworks to address the problems of low...
Article
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This study reconstructs shellfish harvesting seasonality to elucidate details of subsistence intensification and potential human impacts on lower intertidal and subtidal red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) and intertidal black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii) on San Nicolas Island, California. Using 368 stable oxygen (δ 18 O) isotope samples from two Mi...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter presents new perspectives on the marine shell beads recovered from Monitor Valley: Richard Hughes updates the temporal distribution of the Haliotis and Olivella shell beads based on recent evidence from the Great Basin and California, and Jelmer Eerkens and his colleagues infer projected sources for a selected sample of Olivella shell...
Article
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This article emerged as the human species collectively have been experiencing the worst global pandemic in a century. With a long view of the ecological, economic, social, and political factors that promote the emergence and spread of infectious disease , archaeologists are well positioned to examine the antecedents of the present crisis. In this a...
Article
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Sexual division of labor with females as gatherers and males as hunters is a major empirical regularity of hunter-gatherer ethnography, suggesting an ancestral behavioral pattern. We present an archeological discovery and meta-analysis that challenge the man-the-hunter hypothesis. Excavations at the Andean highland site of Wilamaya Patjxa reveal a...
Poster
Full-text available
Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) populations in California are in decline due to the combined effects of habitat degradation, water diversions, and shifting climate regimes. Effective salmon conservation and management relies on understanding their life history diversity and ability to adapt to environmental change. Monitoring efforts and...
Article
Background: The mummified body of a small child was found in a sealed Barstow cast iron casket during construction activity in San Francisco in 2016. Using historical records and ancient DNA the child was determined to be Edith H. Cook. She was born 28 November, 1873 in the city of San Francisco, and died of "marasmus" on 13 October, 1876 also in...
Article
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Sex estimation of skeletons is fundamental to many archaeological studies. Currently, three approaches are available to estimate sex–osteology, genomics, or proteomics, but little is known about the relative reliability of these methods in applied settings. We present matching osteological, shotgun-genomic, and proteomic data to estimate the sex of...
Chapter
Full-text available
This study explores broad patterns of pre-contact human subsistence in Late Holocene interior central California through stable isotope analysis of human and animal bone collagen and apatite. Specifically, we evaluate the importance of marine resources in the diets of inland people buried near the lesser tributaries of the Sacramento River and Delt...
Article
The introduction of pottery in North Patagonia (Argentina), approximately 2000 years BP, allowed hunter-gatherers to exploit resources in new ways, but also required alterations to lifeways to accommodate this new technology, especially in territoriality, exchange, and home ranges. Ceramic provenance analysis allows us to focus on the characteristi...
Article
Previous stable isotope research on Middle-to-Late Holocene (6600 cal BP-present) hunter-gatherers of Central California has documented significant regional variation in human paleodiets between the San Francisco Bay Area and Central Valley. In general, this geographically-patterned dietary variation tracks greater consumption of marine food resour...
Article
James Bennyhoff proposed a “Meganos intrusion” of people from the California Delta into the San Francisco Bay Area. Using new radiocarbon and stable isotope data, we re-examine stratigraphic and mortuary patterns at CA-CCO-151, the El Sobrante Mound. Which contains both a pre-Meganos (or Berkeley) and Meganos component. Results show that the transi...
Article
Architecture is a complex cultural trait that lends itself to the analytical methods developed for cultural transmission theory. We analyze a dataset of palace structures that gives insight into horizontal transmission processes between Sudan, Egypt, and the Near East during the Meroitic and Greco-Roman time periods. High similarity between buildin...
Poster
Sacramento perch, ubiquitous in the archaeological record throughout the California Delta, is now extirpated from the region. Descriptions of Sacramento perch ecology are from relocated or declining populations. Archaeological specimens have the potential to provide insight on perch demographics prior to large scale damming and the introduction of...
Article
We test the antiquity of a dietary life history model on Tutuila, American Samoa. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in serial, age-adjusted samples of first and third molars reveal isotopic biographies of 16 individuals from five late Holocene (200–1100 RCYBP) sites. Combining this with bone collagen from a larger sample of individuals, we docume...
Article
We report 91 new AMS radiocarbon dates on human bone collagen from two important central California sites: CA-CCO-138 (Hotchkiss Mound; n = 46) and CA-CCO-139 (Simone Mound; n = 45). The sites lie within 500 m of one another in the California Delta and have figured prominently in the formulation of culture historical sequences in central California...
Article
Full-text available
In September 2017, archaeological investigations associated with construction activities at MIRO Towers in San Jose, California, uncovered a burial feature containing the remains of a young adult female dog and her two 5-12-week-old pups. Stratigraphy and associated artifacts indicate a burial date in the 1890s. Historical research indicates that t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We examine age of weaning and childhood diet at a Middle Period site in central California, CA-SOL-11, near Suisun Marsh. Stable isotope analyses of serial samples of permanent first molars record information about the diet of an individual when they were between 0 and 9.5 years of age. Our results show that females were breastfed, on average, slig...
Article
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In research on the history and archaeology of games, dice are typically auxiliary that provide some, but often incomplete, information about which games were played, or how people played them. Cubic dice first appear in the archaeological record in the third millennium BCE, and even though they spread quickly to other parts of the world, the inform...
Article
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Olivella-shell grooved rectangular beads, or N series beads as classified by Bennyhoff and Hughes (1987), are the oldest Olivella wall beads in central California, dating to a narrow time-frame during the mid-Holocene. This bead type, thought to have originated in the southern Santa Barbara Channel islands, has been identified across a wide geograp...
Article
Amelogenin genes are located on both X and Y sex chromosomes in humans and are a major focus of DNA-based sex estimation methods. Amelogenin proteins, AMELX_HUMAN and AMELY_HUMAN, are expressed in the tooth organ and play a major role in mineralization of enamel, the most taphonomically resistant, archaeologically persistent human tissue. We descri...
Article
Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) of ancient dental calculus samples from a prehistoric site in San Francisco Bay, CA-SCL-919, reveals a wide range of potentially pathogenic bacteria. One older adult woman, in particular, had high levels of Neisseria meningitidis and low levels of Haemophilus influenzae, species that were not observed in the calculu...
Article
Dental calculus has been shown to be a repository of a variety of exogenous organic materials, including bacterial DNA, proteins, phytoliths, and starch grains. Here we show that certain alkaloids, nicotine in this case, can also be trapped and preserved in ancient dental calculus. We present Ultra-Performance Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometr...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents the results from a diachronic study of fish remains from two neighboring archaeological mound sites in Contra Costa county, Hotchkiss Mound (CA-CCO-138; 850-450 cal BP) and Simone Mound (CA-CCO-139; 1200-950 cal BP). A previous study (Eerkens and Bartelink, in review) using stable isotope data from individual burials suggested d...
Article
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Cubic dice were brought by the Romans to the Low Countries, and are found in small numbers at many archaeological sites dating to the last 2000 years. We report on a systematic analysis of 110 well-dated dice from the Netherlands, showing that shape, pip configuration, and pip style changed significantly for bone and antler dice from the Roman to t...
Article
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We explore early childhood dietary patterns in a Late Meroitic (1st – 4th century CE) population (N=11) from Sai Island, Sudan using stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in serial samples from permanent first molar dentin. Results suggest an average age of weaning of 2.7 years, but with significant inter‐individual variation in the timing of weaning...
Article
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The chance discovery of a 1.5–3.5 years old mummified girl presents a unique opportunity to further our understanding of health and disease among children in 19th Century San Francisco. This study focuses on carbon and nitrogen stable isotope signatures in serial samples of hair that cover the last 14 months of her life. Results suggest an initial...
Data
δ13C, total C, δ15N, and total N measured in hair serial samples, along with hair segment distance from root (mm), and estimated median age of segment before death (months). (XLS)
Article
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The 13th century Puebloan depopulation of the Four Corners region of the US Southwest is an iconic episode in world prehistory. Studies of its causes, as well as its consequences, have a bearing not only on archaeological method and theory, but also social responses to climate change, the sociology of social movements, and contemporary patterns of...
Data
Turkey samples studied with their provenience, dates, and other pertinent archaeological information, and the full results of their genetic analyses. Under the amplicon columns, an “X” in a cell indicates successful amplification and sequencing of the amplicon, whereas “O” indicates results from the amplicon were not obtained. Partial sequences tha...
Data
Canid samples studied with their provenience, dates, and other pertinent archaeological information, and the full results of their genetic analyses. Under the amplicon columns, an “X” in a cell indicates successful amplification and sequencing of the amplicon, whereas “O” indicates results from the amplicon were not obtained. Cells colored black in...
Article
Full-text available
Using stable isotope analysis of serial samples in permanent first molars, we reconstruct age of weaning and early childhood diets for eight individuals at CA-SJO-112, a 3,000–3,300 cal B.P. site in central California. We compare the results to previously published data from a nearby contemporary site, CA-CCO-548. Data show that, on average, childr...
Article
Full-text available
Shells are a visible component of archaeological middens in Central California. While coastal and bay shore sites are often dominated by shells, these food items were sometimes hauled many kilometers from their collection points and are found in appreciable numbers in inland sites as well. Using oxygen and carbon stable isotope data from 44 Mytilus...
Article
Ethnographic evidence demonstrates that hunter–gatherer children may forage effectively enough to supplement an adult provisioned diet, where ecology, subsistence strategies, and social organization are conducive to juvenile participation. We use stable isotope measures (δ15N and δ13C) from bone collagen and serial-samples of dentinal collagen extr...
Article
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Few items in the archaeological record capture the imagination more than human heads separated from their bodies. Such items are sometimes assumed to indicate warfare practices, where "trophy heads" display power and fighting prowess. Other times, they are interpreted as representing ancestor veneration. Isolated crania are not uncommon in the Earl...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Excavations at three sites in Tuolumne County in the 1970s during the construction of Don Pedro Reservoir recovered human remains representing a minimum of 60 individuals. In collaboration with the Tuolumne Me-Wuk, stable isotope analysis has been performed on bone collagen to gather life history information on 53 of these individuals, prior to reb...
Article
Similar artifact function and conformism to social norms are two models commonly proposed to explain why ancient people shared a particular form of material culture. We propose an additional model for explaining such similarity, production bias, which focuses on interactions between raw materials and the production of material culture. By way of mo...
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Analysis of a mass burial of seven males at CA-ALA-554, a prehistoric site in the Amador Valley, CA, was undertaken to determine if the individuals were "locals" or "non-locals," and how they were genetically related to one another. The study includes osteological, genetic (mtDNA), and stable (C, N, O, S) and radiogenic (Sr) isotope analyses of bon...
Conference Paper
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Recent research on Late Period subsistence strategies along the shore of San Francisco Bay have documented evidence of intensive consumption of marine resources. The Stege Mound (CA-CCO-297) is a Late Period shell mound, unique in that it is the most well-defined single component Bay Area Late Period site. In this paper we explore variation in Late...
Conference Paper
The diets of infants and children are a frequently understudied area of research in prehistoric California. Stable isotope analysis has been used to assess the weaning patterns of children primarily from the Bay Area of Central California. In this paper, we analyze the diets of children and infants from the Stege Mound (CA-CCO-297) using stable car...
Article
Full-text available
There are mixed opinions on the suitability of dental calculus for paleodietary reconstruction using stable isotope analysis. We examine delta C-13 and delta N-15 values of calculus samples from two regions, central California in the USA and Sal Island in the Sudan. When atomic C/N ratios are less than 12 in calculus, results show positive correlat...
Article
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The Dawson seriation of Nasca ceramics has long been assumed to be an accurate marker of temporal changes in the prehispanic south coast of Peru. We test this assumption by directly dating a sample of sherds using Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL). Our results suggest that while some phases of the seriation are valid chronological markers, ot...
Article
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Previously, one of us Eerkens (2004) has proposed that between 1500 and 700 B.P. inhabitants in Owens Valley shifted from a village-based, communal living pattern to a smaller-scale nuclear family-based one. This process was linked to a rise in population and a concomitant increase in privatized seed use. We test this proposal by examining the arti...
Article
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We examine the diffusion of a successful and an unsuccessful innovation among hunter-gatherers in the western Great Basin, using a diffusion of innovation model. Modern and historical studies on the diffusion of innovations suggest that diffusion processes follow S-shaped curves, with small numbers of early adopters, followed by more rapid uptick i...
Article
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We estimate the month of harvest of 32 Macoma nasuta shells from a single component Late Phase II (450-200 cal BP) assemblage from CA-CCO-297 using oxygen isotope ratios in terminal growth rings. Results suggest that clamming occurred throughout the year, but was most pronounced during two pulses in early summer and early winter. We relate the form...
Article
Stable isotope analyses of biological tissues that grow during different phases of life can be used to trace the geographic location of individuals during different windows of time. We apply this principle and reexamine three prehistoric skeletons excavated in 1964 from archaeological site CA-YOL-117 in Central California. Field evidence suggests t...