Dietary life histories in Stone Age Northern Europe
2013 (English)In: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, ISSN 0278-4165, E-ISSN 1090-2686, Vol. 32, no 3, 288-302 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
We present here a framework for using stable isotope analysis of bone and teeth to study individual life history. A sampling strategy and analytical approach for stable carbon and nitrogen analysis of bone and dentine collagen optimised for intra-individual purposes is put forward. The rationale behind this strategy, various requirements and constrains, and recommendations on how to modify it according to variations in material and analytical instrumentation, are discussed and explained in detail. Based on intra-individual data for 131 human individuals from Mesolithic and Neolithic sites in Northern Europe, we consider the sources and various kinds of variation one is likely to find, and how the data can be explained and transformed into an archaeologically meaningful interpretation. It is concluded that the use of stable isotope analysis to trace individual life history is not limited to carefully excavated, neatly preserved, single burials with articulate skeletal remains. Even collective burials, disturbed graves, disarticulated human remains in cultural layers, or other depositions that deviate from what is often considered as a proper burial, offer the possibility to look at individual life biographies.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 32, no 3, 288-302 p.
Life history, Intra-individual analysis, Archaeology, Stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes, Diet, Migration, Breastfeeding, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Northern Europe
Social Anthropology Archaeology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-92789DOI: 10.1016/j.jaa.2012.01.002ISI: 000321794400003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-92789DiVA: diva2:642793