Humans use dietary resources in many ways, employing varied subsistence strategies in response to local environmental fluctuations and innovative technologies. Documenting these patterns of resource use is an important part of our understanding of past societies and human relationships with the landscape, animals, and each other. In this paper, we present results from stable isotope analysis of 66 individuals buried on the Copacabana Peninsula, Bolivia, compared to a baseline of 28 modern floral and faunal samples, and explore individual and population access to certain types of food over time (3000 BCE–CE 1700). The data show that access to C4 and lacustrine resources shifted slightly over time, especially during the Early Intermediate Period (CE 1–500). We argue that Copacabana peoples used diverse subsistence strategies to navigate fluctuating environmental and social conditions. This was not a teleological nor one-way process; rather, people made choices about food in response to environmental patterns, shifting subsistence strategies, differential ritual use of maize, or, most likely, a combination of all of the above.
- Copacabana Peninsula