Strontium Isotopes and the Study of Human Mobility Among the Ancient Maya

T. Douglas Price, James H. Burton, Paul D. Fullagar, Lori E. Wright, Jane E. Buikstra, Vera Tiesler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

30 Scopus citations


The present chapter on strontium isotopes from human dental enamel aims at presenting four archaeological case studies to illustrate the anthropological significance and range of applications of this technique: a northern Maya origin for the founder of Copan, a local king from Tikal, and the regional origin of two of Palenque’s rulers. The results show that isotopic variation within the various culturally important regions of Mesoamerica is generally much less than variation among the different regions. Thus analysis of strontium isotope ratios in dental enamel, which retains the ratio of the place of childhood residence, can be used not only to indicate mobility but also on occasion to determine the geographic origin of the individual.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpringerBriefs in Archaeology
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameSpringerBriefs in Archaeology
ISSN (Print)1861-6623
ISSN (Electronic)2192-4910


  • Colonial times
  • Dental enamel
  • Prehispanic Maya
  • Strontium isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Archaeology


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