Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Mapping the Elephants of the 19th Century East African Ivory Trade with a Multi-Isotope Approach
Univ York, Dept Archaeol, BioArCh, York, N Yorkshire, England.;Univ Cape Town, Dept Archaeol, Rondebosch, South Africa..
Univ Oxford, Res Lab Archaeol, Oxford, England..
Univ York, Dept Archaeol, BioArCh, York, N Yorkshire, England..
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History. Univ Witwatersrand, Sch Geog Archaeol & Environm Sci, ZA-2050 Johannesburg, South Africa..
2016 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 11, no 10, e0163606Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

East African elephants have been hunted for their ivory for millennia but the nineteenth century witnessed strongly escalating demand from Europe and North America. It has been suggested that one consequence was that by the 1880s elephant herds along the coast had become scarce, and to meet demand, trade caravans trekked farther into interior regions of East Africa, extending the extraction frontier. The steady decimation of elephant populations coupled with the extension of trade networks have also been claimed to have triggered significant ecological and socio-economic changes that left lasting legacies across the region. To explore the feasibility of using an isotopic approach to uncover a 'moving frontier' of elephant extraction, we constructed a baseline isotope data set (delta C-13, delta N-15, delta O-18 and Sr-87/Sr-86) for historic East African elephants known to have come from three distinct regions (coastal, Rift Valley, and inland Lakes). Using the isotope results with other climate data and geographical mapping tools, it was possible to characterise elephants from different habitats across the region. This baseline data set was then used to provenance elephant ivory of unknown geographical provenance that was exported from East Africa during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to determine its likely origin. This produced a better understanding of historic elephant geography in the region, and the data have the potential to be used to provenance older archaeological ivories, and to inform contemporary elephant conservation strategies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 11, no 10, e0163606
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-308646DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0163606ISI: 000386204000017PubMedID: 27760152OAI: diva2:1050743
EU, European Research Council, MEXT-CT-2006-042704
Available from: 2016-11-30 Created: 2016-11-29 Last updated: 2016-11-30Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(2732 kB)54 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 2732 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full textPubMed

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Lane, Paul J.
By organisation
Department of Archaeology and Ancient History
In the same journal

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 54 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 100 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link