Grad Student Publishes Article On Ancient Weaning Practices

December 15, 2017

Eden Washburn

Graduate student Eden Washburn has published her first paper.  The paper, "Weaning and Early Childhood Diets at Two Early Period Sites: Implications for Parental Investment and Population Growth in Central California," was published in the journal California Archaeology with Jelmer Eerkens and Alexandra Greenwald.  The article details the study of teeth from a 3,000 year-old archaeological site located near Stockton, CA. 

In humans, first molars form between the ages of 0 and 9 years and record dietary practices at the time of formation.  Washburn and her colleagues used stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes from ancient teeth at the archaeological site to reconstruct diets among this age group, which includes the weaning process.  This data was then compared with a previous study of another site about 25 miles away to illuminate their differences and the impact of environmental and cultural patterns on early childhood diets in ancient times.

Washburn came to the Department of Anthropology as a graduate student in 2014 with an emphasis in archaeology.