Beth Koontz-Scaffidi, the bioarchaeologist on the archaeological project. The second photo was from when we hiked to a stream in the valley, where there was a bit of green vegetation! Beth needed to collect water samples for a stable isotope analysis on the bones. Isotopes are elements found everywhere in the world, such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and strontium. The ratio of these isotopes change depending on the ecosystem, climate zone, and in the foods we eat and water we drink. The elements we eat and drink from our environments are used to renew the tissues that make our skin, organs, and skeleton. We truly are what we eat, as these isotopes make our physical selves, even long after death. Bioarchaeologists can look at the isotopes in ancient skeletal remains and compare them with the signatures in the surrounding environment to gain a sense of their diet and even where they came from.
From the Proyecto de Investigacion Arqueologico Quilcapampa La Antigua, 2016 - 26 minutes ago