Publication Date

Spring 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Charlotte Sunseri


CA-ALA-329, Native American, Precontact, San Francisco Bay Area, Stable Isotope Analysis

Subject Areas



Marriage and post-marital residence patterns shape and define various aspects of a population’s culture. This study aims to understand the complex relationships of precontact individuals from one earthen-mound burial site, Ryan Mound (CA-ALA-329), by examining human stable isotopes to elucidate mobility patterns through time. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes from serial-sections of human third molars from the Ryan Mound suggest that mobility increased for males around the ages of sexual maturity for the Middle Period and Phase I of the Late Period, while females tended to be more stable in their residence, consistent with a matrilocal society. Both males and females showed greater mobility on the landscape during Phase II of the Late Period. This information informs on diet and human interactions with the environments of the southern San Francisco Bay, along with marriage and residence patterns of the population buried at Ryan Mound.