Early Goats in Bali, Indonesia: Stable Isotope Analyses of Diet and Movement

Jack Fenner, Rebecca Jones, Philip Piper, Madison Llewellin, Michael Gagan, B Prasetyo, Ambra Calo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Two thousand years ago, maritime trade flourished in Southeast Asia and archaeological excavations have revealed that Island Southeast Asia played an important role within developing trading networks. The sites of Sembiran and Pacung on the north coast of Bali, Indonesia, have produced a wide range of artifacts that demonstrate links to mainland and island Asia. Here, we examine faunal remains from these sites to assess the role that livestock played in north Bali diet and trade at that time. In addition to abundant pig (Sus cf. scrofa) remains, the sites yielded the earliest securely dated goat (Capra hircus) remains known from Southeast Asia. Moreover carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and strontium stable isotope analyses of bone collagen and tooth apatite indicate that some of these goats were from a markedly different environment than the pig, human, and dog remains from the sites. It is likely that these goats were imported from a different region�possibly South Asia�where they fed on C 4 plants such as millet. This provides evidence that livestock were included in regional exchange networks, and prompts the question as to why goat remains are absent from Mainland Southeast Asia archaeological sites despite their presence in South Asia, East Asia, and Island Southeast Asia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)563-581
    JournalJournal of Island and Coastal Archaeology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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