The Seasonal Mobility of Prehistoric Gazelle Herds in the Azraq Basin, Jordan: Modelling Alternative Strategies Using Stable Isotopes

Elizabeth Henton, Isabelle Ruben, Carol Palmer, Matthew Thirlwall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hunting of Gazella subgutturosa was a dominant practice for Epipalaeolithic and early Neolithic hunter–gatherers in the east Jordan steppe. The seasonal mobility of this taxon in the Levant is poorly understood, especially for early prehistory when herd movements would have influenced hunter-gatherer use of the steppes. This paper proposes four patterns of seasonal herd mobility for G. subgutturosa centred on Jordan’s Azraq Basin. The four patterns are modelled using oxygen, carbon and strontium stable isotopes. Seasonal environmental signatures of each are understood through carbon and strontium isotopic variation in sixty modern plant specimens collected from twelve selected locations in north Jordan, published data on oxygen isotopes in local precipitation, and the adaptive behaviour of G. subgutturosa. The integrated isotopic datasets provide clear discriminatory markers for each proposed mobility pattern. Results will be applied in future to isotopic data from archaeological gazelle teeth from the Azraq Basin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-199
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Archaeology
Issue number2
Early online date25 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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