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Diet and mobility among Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in Motala (Sweden) - The isotope perspective
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Archaeological Research Laboratory.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9926-6524
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Archaeological Research Laboratory.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Osteoarchaeological Research Laboratory.
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2018 (English)In: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, ISSN 2352-409X, E-ISSN 2001-1199, Vol. 17, p. 904-918Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent excavations at the sites of Strandvägen and Kanaljorden in Motala, Eastern Central Sweden, have unearthed complex and varied funerary remains from the Mesolithic. The two sites are situated on opposite banks of the river Motala Ström. While geographically close and roughly covering the same time span (c. 8000–7000 cal. BP), the funerary remains reveal differences and similarities in the treatment of the dead between the two localities. While at Strandvägen human bones were mostly found either scattered along the river bed or in inhumation graves, Kanaljorden contains wetland depositions of disarticulated skulls. We have conducted multi-isotope analyses of δ13C, δ15N, δ34S and 87Sr/86Sr of human and animal remains with the aim of reconstructing the dietary patterns, geographic provenance and mobility of the interred. A series of faunal reference samples and, in the case of 87Sr/86Sr, soil samples have been analysed in order to establish relevant isotopic baselines. The results show a protein intake dominated by aquatic resources, probably consisting of both freshwater and marine fish in varied proportions. The strontium isotope data indicate an interesting distinction between the individuals buried on either side of the river Motala Ström. Five out of six sampled individuals from Strandvägen have isotope ratios consistent with a local provenance, whereas ratios from seven out of eight Kanaljorden individuals indicate a non-local origin. The δ34S analysis proved problematic as a majority of the samples appear to be affected by diagenesis. This is probably the result of contamination by exogenous sulphur from surrounding fluvial and lacustrine sediments, as has previously been reported from other waterlogged sites.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 17, p. 904-918
Keywords [en]
Hunter-gatherers, Scandinavia, Mesolithic burials, Strontium isotopes, Carbon isotopes, Nitrogen isotopes, Diet, Mobility
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-136712DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.05.052ISI: 000429561000083OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-136712DiVA, id: diva2:1056309
Available from: 2016-12-14 Created: 2016-12-14 Last updated: 2018-05-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Points on Production: Taphonomic research on Mesolithic osseous assemblages in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Points on Production: Taphonomic research on Mesolithic osseous assemblages in Sweden
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Osteoarchaeological materials are influenced by many consecutive factors, from human hunting strategies, consumption patterns and waste disposal to mechanical and chemical changes in bone structure and shape. Here Mesolithic osteoarchaeological patterns have been examined in relation to the production of bone and antler artefacts. The osseous production in Sweden of the period c. 7000–4500 cal BC shows both similarities and differences between six investigated sites, representing two different geographical regions. These may be seen in both manufacturing techniques and raw material use and may be linked to different traditions, but also to different utilization of different taskscapes. The production is also linked to lithic craft and the theme of e.g. raw material acquisition is also relevant in relation to the production of osseous artefacts. Spatial studies clearly show how different taphonomic processes affect the accumulation of bone material on site, but also how practitioners’ choices associated with the osseous craft affect these patterns. On several of the investigated sites, deposits of raw material have been found in the waters outside the settlements. In the settlement debitage from the production and forming of the artefacts, bone knapping floors have been identified. These are located centrally, in relation to other archaeological structures such as lithic knapping floors and dwellings. The osteoarchaeological record is biased in part due to debitage from osseous production but also from active human selection, transport and deposition of raw materials. These activities and the human choices of production affect the patterns, and through careful taphonomic analyses various accumulative processes may be highlighted.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, 2018. p. 133
Series
Theses and papers in osteoarchaeology, ISSN 1652-4098 ; 09
Keywords
Osteoarchaeological patterns, Taphonomic analysis, Osseous craft, Mesolithic, Spatial studies
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-149658 (URN)978-91-7797-114-6 (ISBN)978-91-7797-115-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-02-23, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
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Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2018-01-31 Created: 2017-12-07 Last updated: 2018-01-31Bibliographically approved

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