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... The data-rich and informative study on human mummies by Touzeau et al. (2014) shows that the ancient Egyptian diet has as its major component C3 plants with a minor (<10%) contribution of C4-derived foods, coming from sub-Sahara (Touzeau et al. 2013:122). Touzeau and colleagues interpreted the consistency of the C3 carbon isotope levels by stating that "ancient Egyptians had a relatively basic diet with a restricted number of food items" (Touzeau et al. 2014:119). ...
... However, the archaeobotanical materials as indicated in the case studies from Deir el-Ballas, Nag ed-Deir and from the elite Tomb of Kha and Merit provide evidence reflecting the complex use of plant sources combining both continuity and change in diet by integrating wild, domesticated, and new imported species of fruits within a regionally specific and historically contextualized way. With these caveats, the contributions by Touzeau et al. (2014) in applying stable isotopic analysis on Egyptian mummies are highly valuable. ...
Thesis
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The interdisciplinary analysis of Archaeobotanical materials from Ancient Egypt contributes to advances in humanities and life sciences. This dissertation discusses how botanical remains from different sites such as Nag ed Deir and Deir el Ballas broaden our knowledge of ancient Egyptian social structure, regional cultural variation and cross-cultural relationship with other cultures in Eastern Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. On the other hand, it contributes to life sciences as it presents oxygen stable isotope analysis on ancient plants and compare them to modern ones. This comes with significant result as it helps differentiate between local versus imported species to understand ancient trade network to serve social historians. In addition, it contributes to life sciences as it demonstrate the impact of climate change and damming along the river on altering ancient water and food system.
... It was already cultivated in Central Europe during the Stone Age [9]. It is also mentioned in the Bible, in the first book of Moses (Moses 25:27-34), but stable carbon isotope studies have shown that it was also an important part of the diet in ancient Egypt [10]. Its botanical description in 1787 was carried out by Friedrich Kasimir Medikus, a German physicist and botanist [11]. ...
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The crops commercially available in Hungary show great variety in terms of their county of origin. According to out hypothesis, this diversity is also reflected in value of their nutrient content. In our experiments, the nutrient and mineral content of jasmine rice, lentils and beans from different areas of origin was determined, and the results were analyzed using descriptive statistical methods. The aim of our work was to gather basic data from raw materials from different countries of the world, which can be compared with basic data from Hungary. During the evaluation of the results, a trend-like change in macronutrient amount was observed, while the mineral content of the crops was moderately or strongly variable in several cases. Based on our results, it is recommended that experts update basic data more frequently, given the increasingly globalized nature of the world, and take into account the variability of crops by country of origin.
... A kőkorszak idején már termesztették Közép-Európában[9]. A Bibliában, Mózes első könyvében is említést tesznek róla (Mózes 25:27-34), de stabil szénizotóp vizsgálatok bizonyították, hogy az ókori Egyiptomban is a táplálkozás fontos részét képezte[10]. Növénytani leírása Friedrich Kasimir Medikus, német fizikus és botanikus nevéhez fűződik -ben[11]. ...
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A Magyarországon kereskedelmi forgalomban kapható termések származási országuk tekintetében nagy változékonyságot mutatnak. Hipotézisünk szerint ez a sokféleség megmutatkozik a tápanyagtartalom mennyiségében is. Kísérleteink során különböző származási helyről érkező jázminrizs, lencse és szárazbab tápanyag- és ásványanyag-tartalmának meghatározását végeztük el, az eredményeket leíró statisztikai módszerekkel elemeztük. Munkánk célja az volt, hogy a világ különböző országaiból származó alapanyagokból legyenek alapadataink, amelyeket összehasonlíthatunk a magyarországi alapadatokkal. Az eredmények értékelése során a makrotápanyagok trendszerű változását tapasztaltuk, a termények ásványanyag tartalma több esetben közepes vagy erős változékonyságú volt. Eredményeink alapján javasolható, hogy a szakértők gyakrabban újítsák meg az alapadatokat – tekintettel az egyre globalizált világra –, és vegyék figyelembe a termények származási ország szerinti változékonyságát.
... Among these, sulfur (δ S), which is incorporated in relatively low abundance into bone collagen, is one of the more wellinvestigated for archaeological studies, especially as sample sizes have decreased with technical advances. Coupled with C and N isotopes, δ S can inform on marine and freshwater contributions to the diet, but published studies from diverse global environments indicate that ecological patterning is very complex (Nehlich 2015;Touzeau et al. 2014). ...
... With no contemporaneous baseline, interpretation of the sulfur isotope results is difficult. The closest comparison to Sidon is in Egypt(Touzeau et al., 2014), where the values from the Sidonians here are similar to values observed in Nile perch and later period Egyptians (ca. 526 BCE-400 CE). ...
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Objectives Excavations at Sidon (Lebanon) have revealed dual identities during the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 2000–1600 BCE): a maritime port and center for local distribution, as well as a settlement with a heavy subsistence dependence on the extensive inland hinterlands. We aim to investigate residential mobility at Sidon using isotopic analyses of 112 individuals from 83 burials (20 females, 26 males, and 37 subadults). Veneration and remembrance of the dead is evident from funerary offerings in and near the tombs. With marine fish a major component in funerary offerings, we predict major marine reliance in this coastal population. Materials and methods New isotopic evidence of paleomobility (⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr, δ¹⁸O) and diet (δ¹³Ccarbonate) is the focus of this research. Previous bulk bone collagen δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N analysis is strengthened by further sampling, along with δ³⁴S where collagen yield was sufficient. Results The five non-locals identified (8.9% of the 56 analyzed) come from constructed tombs with high-status grave goods except for one, which was heavily disturbed in antiquity. Dietary investigation of the population confirms reliance on terrestrial resources with no significant marine input. No significant differences in diet between the sexes or burial types are present. Conclusions Although Sidon was part of a growing Mediterranean network evidenced through artefactual finds, relatively low immigration is evident. While religious feasts venerating the dead may have involved significant piscine components, no appreciable marine input in diet is observed. Fish may have been reserved for the deceased or only consumed on feast days alongside the dead rather than a regular part of the Bronze Age menu.
Article
Stable isotope analysis is a powerful tool for reconstructing the diet and health of ancient individuals. The carbon and nitrogen stable isotope compositions of human tissues reflect those of the foodstuffs consumed and can be altered by physio-pathological stressors. The δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N values can be measured in the protein as a whole or in the amino acids constituting the protein by using a bulk or compound-specific isotope technique, respectively. Human scalp hair is considered an ideal tissue in stable isotope studies because it is resistant to degradation, is predominantly composed of proteins (keratins), grows fast and at a ‘known’ rate (circa 1 cm/month when in anagen phase), and it does not remodel after deposition. The isotope signal is recorded sequentially as the tissue grows and remains unaltered through time, with the most recent information found at the hair root. The sampling procedure is minimally invasive and therefore comparative studies on living individuals can be performed. Stable isotope analysis of sequential segments of scalp hair is a means of achieving a highly detailed and temporally resolved reconstruction of an individual’s life. Dietary intake and health status of individuals can be reconstructed on a fortnightly basis when 0.5-cm-long hair segments are incrementally analysed.
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The Gauls, who occupied most of Western Europe during the Second Iron Age (500 BCE–50 BCE), exploited their environ- ment through farming and trading of local resources. The study of carbon (δ13C), nitrogen (δ15N), and sulfur (δ34S) stable isotopes of 8 humans and 12 animals from the Gallic site of Thézy-Glimont, Picardie, France, provides an insight into the dietary practices of this population. Various bones from the cephalic, axial, and appendicular skeletons of three human individuals were sampled to study intra-skeletal stable isotope variability. All bones have similar collagen δ13C, δ15N, and δ34S values for each individual, showing that they followed a consistent diet during their life, and that isotopic compositions are homogeneously recorded in bones despite various turnover rates. The δ13C (− 20.5‰ to − 19.8‰) and δ15N (+ 7.6‰ to + 9.0‰) values indicate that the studied Gallic individuals followed a continental omnivorous diet based on C3-plants and cattle meat. High δ34S values, in the range + 11.7‰ to + 17.7‰, are apparently at variance with these conclusions as they reflect a marine contribution. However, they can also be explained by a more intense regime of precipitation from the westerlies and possible contributions from the geological substratum. While deepening the knowledge of the cultural practices of Gallic tribes from Northern Gaul during the Second Iron Age, this study highlights how stable isotope compositions of body tissues can reflect the interactions between populations and their environment.
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The advent of Christianity in Nubia (modern Sudan) in the sixth century AD prompted a far-reaching cultural transformation, with changes in material culture, architecture, and cultural practice, marked in the funerary sphere as well. Due to its uneven hydrological conditions, Sudan has always been populated by peoples possessing diverse economic adaptations, with agricultural communities settled along the fertile Nile valley and various mobile pastoralist groups occupying vast areas of the adjacent deserts. This study contributes novel data to the study of medieval Nubian subsistence strategies through an assessment of stable carbon (δ¹³C) and nitrogen (δ¹⁵N) values in the bone collagen and apatite of 25 lay individuals interred within three contemporaneous cemeteries adjacent to the medieval monastic settlement of Ghazali in northern Sudan. Along with human values, this study utilizes a number of faunal samples for the comparative investigation of diet among various groups buried at the site. Collected results suggest primary reliance on C4 products with regular contributions from terrestrial animal proteins. Examined in the context of archaeological data, large contributions of C4 may be considered indicative of subsistence diversification and semi-pastoral economies of the local medieval populations.
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This study aims to lay the foundations for a further research project in which, through a comparative methodology, a zootechnical compendium of graphic representations linked to semantic content characteristic of the birds in the two main pre-Aristotelian classification traditions of Antiquity, Egypt and Mesopotamia, is carried out in order to establish their points of contact, affinities, possible affiliations and constitutive divergences. Focusing—for space reasons—on some significant species of the Anatidae family, we try to achieve a dual objective: to make a brief description of its possible animal behaviour from iconographic and literary sources, and, in addition, to describe the lexical-graphematic functioning of the determining signs or generic classifiers this class of birds are depicted with in both spellings. This latter aspect will be addressed from a comparative perspective that allows us to shape a kind of basic mental scheme that accounts for the functional and symbolic role that these birds possessed at the core of the symbolic world representation revealed by both spellings. Furthermore, it could help us to understand more accurately the anthropological nucleus that underlies them. The authors of this contribution start from the theoretical principle— already confirmed by recent theoretical studies—that the contrasting study of semantic classifiers can provide valuable information on the categorization and hierarchy of classes of world features represented by the speakers of these languages, particularly as they are underlying cognitive principles and rules that iconically reflect a rather coherent conceptual and spatial microcosm.
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(13)C/^(12)C ratios have been determined for plant tissue from 104 species representing 60 families. Higher plants fall into two categories, those with low δ_(PDB1) ^(13)C values (-24 to -34‰) and those with high δ ^(13)C values (-6 to -19‰). Algae have δ^(13)C values of -12 to -23‰. Photosynthetic fractionation leading to such values is discussed.
Chapter
Archaeobotanical research at the Roman port of Berenike, located on the Red Sea coast of Egypt, has revealed some 60 cultivated plant species. These not only represent foods available to the inhabitants of this important harbor, but also foods traded between Rome and especially Sudan and India. Black pepper was found in considerable quantities, the first archaeobotanical find of this nature, confirming the large-scale nature of this trade, previously known only from historical sources. Most of the foods consumed at the site were imported from the Nile valley and the mediterranean region, though some came from the Eastern Desert. The likelihood of small-scale local crop cultivation is discussed.
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The isotopic ratios of common light elements often provide useful information about past geologic, environmental, or biologic history. Bender’s (1968) clear identification of two distinct isotopic values for carbon from C3 and C4 plant organic matter led to the experiments which showed that animal δ13C values were closely related to dietary values (DeNiro and Epstein 1978a; Tieszen et al. 1983). Results from field applications (DeNiro and Epstein 1978b; Vogel 1978; Tieszen et al. 1979; Tieszen and Imbamba 1980) established the usefulness of these tracers and soon led to numerous archaeological studies. C and N, both present in bone collagen, have been most useful to suggest marine versus terrestrial dependence, to establish maize utilization or dependence on legumes, and to identify relative trophic-level positions or carnivory versus herbivory. Recently, attention has been focused on the use of bioapatite CO3 (Lee-Thorp et al. 1989a, 1989b; Lee-Thorp and van der Merwe 1991) as a supplement to collagen, especially in bones older than 10000 years, and as an adjunct to collagen for estimates of carnivory. The 180 signal in bioapatite also has the potential to provide information on the water status of the individual or the environment. Sulfur isotopes δ 34 S), when present in sufficient quantities, as in hair or skin, are also useful and in some cases can distinguish clearly between marine and terrestrial dietary sources (Krouse and Herbert 1988).