The UMMAA and Círculo Micaela Bastidas Phuyuqawa (Círculo Andino) are pleased to present Emily Milton, PhD student at Michigan State University, who will speak on Friday, October 28, 12-1 p.m., in West Hall Room 111, as part of the UMMAA Brown Bag Lecture Series. 

Milton's talk,  High Altitude, Low Oxygen: A Parable of an Isotopic Baseline in the Central Andes, asks to what extent it is possible to know the isotopic composition of water consumed in the past. She works in the western Central Andes, where  biocultural and environmental variability is ubiquitously dynamic, from the Pacific coast to the high Andes. In this region, oxygen isotopes are often applied in archaeological contexts to investigate mobility among elevation zones. This practice follows the premise that oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in meteoric waters demonstrate an inverse relationship with altitude. And yet, meteoric water, or precipitation, is rarely a primary drinking source for people and animals. Moreover, humans often modify their water in ways that can alter the final consumed isotopic composition. Milton discusses a recent isotopic baseline from the Majes River Valley in southern Peru and what it revealed about the spatial and temporal variation of isotopes in environmental waters. She considers the biological, cultural, and methodological factors impacting our understanding of “consumed water” and the methodological implications of these data for understanding Early Holocene foraging behavior and high-altitude adaptation, starting at the Cuncaicha rock shelter, a high-elevation archaeological site. 

This Brown Bag is an in-person event.

The Museum’s Brown Bag Lecture Series is free and open to the public.