Cooking technique reflects a combination of cultural and technological factors; here, we attempt to constrain bivalve cooking temperatures for a pre-Columbian Puerto Rican native population using carbonate clumped isotopes. Analyses of 24 bivalve specimens (Phacoides pectinatus) from a shell midden in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, suggest that samples were heated up to 200°C, indicating that roasting rather than boiling may have been the preferred cooking technique. More than half of analyzed samples exhibited a distinct change from modern uncooked shells, possibly reflecting different cooking techniques or the use of a single method wherein shells are unevenly heated, such as when placed on a heated surface. Roasting bivalves would not necessitate the use of ceramic technologies, an observation concurrent with the absence of such artifacts at this site.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)