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Abstract

This paper describes IsoArcH, a new web-based database of isotopic data for bioarchaeological samples from the Graeco-Roman world and its margins. IsoArcH was designed as a cooperative platform for the dissemination of isotopic data and associated archaeological information. IsoArcH follows the open access model and is freely accessible online (http://www.isoarch.eu). Created for paleodietary, paleomobility and paleoenvironmental reconstruction research purposes, IsoArcH compiled to this day published isotopic data for human, animal, and plant remains, as well as organic residues, from nearly 300 sites. All data have been georeferenced allowing for their display on ancient world maps and placement into their contemporaneous geopolitical background. In this paper, several data-driven examples are shown to illustrate the research potential offered by IsoArcH.

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... Isocarb isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS) at McMaster Research for Stable Isotopologues (MRSI), and 87 Sr/ 86 Sr was measured by dynamic multi-collection using a thermal ionization mass spectrometer (TIMS) in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences. The dental enamel isotope data presented represent the first δ 18 O, δ 13 C carbonate , and 87 Sr/ 86 Sr values analysed from Imperial Roman Campania to date, providing data of use for comparative analyses of δ 18 O, δ 13 Table Subject Archaeology Specific subject area Isotope analyses Type of data Table Figure Graph How data were acquired Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR); VG OPTIMA Isocarb isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS); thermal ionization mass spectrometer (TIMS) Data format Raw Analysed Parameters for data collection Permanent second molars (M2) were selected (n = 20) from an equal number of male (n = 10) and female (n = 10) individuals, providing a sex balanced sample. Permanent second molars were chosen as a control for age, based on crown development of the permanent second molar being complete by ca. ...
... Description of data collection Utilizing Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), crystallinity index (CI) values for a subsample of individuals (n = 5) were calculated to assess apatite preservation at Velia [4] . Ground enamel samples were then prepared for δ 13 ...
... The δ 13 C values of the 20 individuals analysed fall within a relatively narrow range, spanning from −13.6 ‰ (Velia 205) to −11.5 ‰ (Velia 160). Considering these δ 13 ...
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The oxygen (δ¹⁸Ocarbonate), strontium (⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr), and previously unpublished carbon (δ¹³Ccarbonate) isotope data presented herein from the Imperial Roman site of Velia (ca. 1st to 2nd c. CE) were obtained from the dental enamel of human permanent second molars (M2). In total, the permanent M2s of 20 individuals (10 male and 10 female) were sampled at the Museo delle Civiltà in Rome (formerly the Museo Nazionale Preistorico Etnografico “L. Pigorini”) and were subsequently processed and analysed at McMaster University. A subsample of teeth (n=5) was initially subjected to Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis to assess for diagenetic alteration through calculation of crystallinity index (CI) values. Subsequently, tooth enamel was analysed for δ¹³Ccarbonate and δ¹⁸Ocarbonate (VPDB) using a VG OPTIMA Isocarb isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS) at McMaster Research for Stable Isotopologues (MRSI), and ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr was measured by dynamic multi-collection using a thermal ionization mass spectrometer (TIMS) in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences. The dental enamel isotope data presented represent the first δ¹⁸O, δ¹³Ccarbonate, and ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr values analysed from Imperial Roman Campania to date, providing data of use for comparative analyses of δ¹⁸O, δ¹³C, and ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr values within the region and for assisting in documenting human mobility in archaeological contexts. Full interpretation of the δ¹⁸O and ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr data presented here is provided in “Imperial Roman mobility and migration at Velia (1st to 2nd c. CE) in southern Italy” [1].
... isoarch.eu: Salesse et al., 2017Salesse et al., , 2018. A query was executed to retrieve all uploaded human enamel δ 13 C PDB and δ 18 O PDB data from Europe (December 2021). ...
... The data that support the findings of this study are openly available in IsoArcH (www.isoarch.eu; Salesse et al., 2018). ...
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The intention of the Roman administration to develop the Lower Germanic limes region into a military zone must have been a catalyst for (long-distance) human and faunal mobility in the course of the 1st century CE. A triple isotope approach (Sr-O-C) has been used on a total of 21 cremations (bone and pars petrosa) and 21 inhumations (dental elements) from the Dutch Lower Germanic limes borderscape region to study the demographic dynamics between 150 and 500 CE. The dental enamel ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr range from 0.7086 to 0.7158. The variability in Sr within the cremated remains is more limited: 0.7089 to 0.7103. The δ¹⁸OPDB data range from −7.6 ‰ to −4.3 ‰. All but one individual dating to the Early and Middle Roman period exhibit Sr ratios that are consistent with the expected local (0.7088–0.7092) or regional (up to ± 0.7110) ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr signature. The population dynamics drastically change in the subsequent Late Roman period. Fifty percent (6/12) of the investigated Late Roman population (partially) spent part of their childhood away from the Dutch river system or even the Batavian civitas. The cremated long bone ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr possibly point towards residential stability during the last few years of life: all data are compatible with the expected regional Sr signature. The δ¹³CPDB data vary between −16.0 ‰ and −8.7 ‰: the latter was indicative of a diet rich in C4 food, which was not a staple in the Roman diet in the Lower Germanic limes region. Although more research is essential to better understand the population dynamics in the limes borderscape, it is clear that the isotope data reflect the political-military status of the Lower Germanic limes region, especially during the transition to a militarized zone in the later Roman period. Identifying possible regions of provenance is a challenge. Another proxy for provenance, namely the cultural artefacts associated with the excavated people, did not show a specific relationship between cultural background and geographical origin.
... • The dataset presents all published incremental isotopic measurements from archaeological faunal remains (n = 152) from the UK. It highlights the growing importance of such type of analyses and represents the first collection of measurements from incrementally sampled enamel and dentine introduced in the IsoArcH database [5] . • This dataset is of value to archaeologists and ecologists that are investigating incremental isotope sampling methodologies, climate [6] , ethology [7,8] , and past animal-human interactions [9,10] . ...
... Fifty-nine of the data points are from dentine collagen, and present stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios ( δ 13 Table 1 summarises the included archaeological sites; faunal species, number of individuals analysed, and the dentine or enamel sampling methodology. (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13)(14)(15)(16)(17)(18)(19)(20) reference Site IDs, given in detail in Table 1 . Table 1 Summary of site IDs, site names and locations, references, time periods, species and number of specimens incrementally analysed, and if the dentine and/or enamel was sampled. ...
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This paper collates previously published data from incremental isotopic studies performed on faunal remains found within the modern boundaries of the United Kingdom (UK). The dataset represents a complete collection of zooarchaeological incremental data from the UK, consisting of 1,092 data points, obtained from 152 faunal specimens from 20 archaeological sites, dating from 7960 BC to AD 1300. 59 of these values are from incrementally sampled dentine and present stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios (δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N). The remaining 1,053 values are from incrementally sampled enamel, and present strontium (⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr, n= 193), and/or stable carbon and oxygen isotope ratios (δ¹³C and δ¹⁸O, n= 860). This dataset is a convenient resource for future researchers, enabling comparisons based on faunal species, time, and geographical location. Further, the dataset acts as a mechanism for researchers to investigate the variety of incremental sampling methodologies (enamel and dentine) which have been applied to faunal remains across the United Kingdom. For ease of access, this dataset has been deposited on the open-access platform IsoArcH (https://isoarch.eu/).
... • The dataset presents all currently published 87 Sr/ 86 Sr measurements from archaeological calcined remains (n = 811) in Europe. It highlights the growing importance of such type of analyses and represents a unique batch of measurements in calcined bone introduced in the IsoArcH database (Salesse et al., 2017). • This dataset is of value to archaeologists investigating mobility in prehistoric and historical European contexts. ...
... ). The dataset is referenced in IsoArcH [1] under the following DOI: 10.48530/isoarch.2021.016 . ...
Article
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Cremated human remains are commonly found in the archaeological records, especially in Europe during the Metal Ages and the Roman period. Due to the high temperatures reached during cremation (up to 1000°C), most biological information locked in the isotopic composition of different tissues is heavily altered or even destroyed. The recent demonstration that strontium isotope ratio (⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr) remained unaltered during cremation and was even very resistant to post-burial alterations (which is not the case of unburned bone), opened new possibility for palaeomobility studies of ancient populations that practices cremations as a funerary ritual. This paper summarizes the strontium isotopic data produced over the last decade which is then deposited on the open-access platform IsoArcH (https://isoarch.eu/) for any interested parties to use. It is the first time isotopic data on cremated remains is introduced in this database, significantly extending its impact on the scientific community.
... The dataset is deposited in IsoArcH ( www.isoarch.eu ) [5] with the following digital object identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.48530/isoarch.2021.001 ...
... ). The dataset is deposited in IsoArcH [5] under the following DOI: https://doi.org/10.48530/isoarch.2021.001 . Table 1 provides a summary of all the sites involved, describing the locations, archaeological cultures and time periods, and numbers of human and/or faunal samples from each respective site. ...
Article
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Stable isotope analysis is routinely used in archaeology to answer questions related to past diets. As the technique matures, data from archaeological sites have been generated at an exponential rate over the past several decades, thus provided an invaluable opportunity to examine past dietary practices and subsistence economies in much larger geographical and temporal settings. In Asia, a significant proportion of isotopic data is published in non-English journals or in grey literature, therefore remains largely inaccessible to general researchers. In order to provide easier access to these data, and to encourage future large-scale meta-data analyses in Asia, this collection presents the most comprehensive set of collagen stable isotope data of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur from East and Northeast Asia (29˚ – 51˚N, 96˚ – 136˚ E) to date, including sites located within the modern territories of the People's Republic of China, Mongolia, the Russian Federation, and the Republic of Korea. Using academic search engines such as Google Scholar, the Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and ScienceON, a total of 3,304 previously published archaeological human a faunal stable isotope data from 136 archaeological sites in East and Northeast Asia, spanning over a period of 8,000 years (c. 7000 BC to AD 1000) are collected. The collated data are deposited on the open-access platform IsoArcH (https://isoarch.eu/) for any interested parties to use.
... Yet such resources prove inhospitable and often incomprehensible to nonspecialists. Along similar lines, ArtEmpire's partners at CEZA have worked to develop 'IsoMemo: A Big Isotopic Data Initiative' (2019), which competes with 'Isoarch' (Salesse et al., 2018). None of these resources, however, permit multidisciplinary data entry, searches, and consultation. ...
Article
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This article presents a relational database capable of integrating data from a variety of types of written sources as well as material remains. In response to historical research questions, information from such diverse sources as documentary, bioanthropo-logical, isotopic, and DNA analyses has been assessed, homogenized, and situated in time and space. Multidisciplinary ontologies offer complementary and integrated perspectives regarding persons and goods. While responding to specific research questions about the impact of globalization on the isthmus of Panama during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the data model and user interface promote the ongoing interrogation of diverse information about complex, changing societies. To this end, the application designed makes it possible to search, consult, and download data that researchers have contributed from anywhere in the world.
... Finally, all the isotopic data, together with associated chronological and other supporting information, from this study have been uploaded in the IsoArcH database (Salesse et al., 2018(Salesse et al., , 2020. ...
Article
Rome saw its number of foreign individuals increase considerably as the empire expanded. These foreigners arrived as either free persons or slaves from the newly conquered provinces and near-frontier zones and came to influence the whole life of the city. Yet relatively little is known about their life histories. In this study, we bring direct evidence for the first example of an African-born migrant, with an origin beyond the southern imperial border, discovered in Rome. Based on a multi-tissue sampling strategy including molar teeth and mandibular cortical bone, a multi-analytical approach including isotopic (δ¹³C, δ¹⁵N, δ¹⁸O, δ³⁴S, ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr), dental morphology (geometric morphometrics, nonmetric traits) and ancient DNA (mitochondrial DNA, Y chromosome) analyses allows reconstructing the journey and lifeway patterns of the individual US215/Mand1 buried in the mass grave from the catacombs of Saints Peter and Marcellinus. The successful isotopic and dental morphology analyses suggest that the individual was probably born in the vicinity of the Nile Valley or within the central Sahara Desert. Results also suggest a diachronic change of residence in the area during their early life. The way US215/Mand1 reached Rome is still hypothetical, although it seems likely that the individual could have undergone forced migration as a slave to the capital.
... For the geoarchaeological community, the explosion and diversification of various spectroscopic data require the implementation of an integrated, collaborative, and open-access database to characterize archeological materials. In the same vein, several initiatives exist (e.g., see the IsoArch project for isotopic data; Salesse et al., 2018) and constitute a crucial opportunity to extent local investigations to a larger scale and identify systematics during past commercial trades at the scale of an established empire. ...
Article
We present a workflow to conduct a full characterization of medium to coarse-grained igneous rocks, using portable, non-invasive, and reproducible approaches. This includes: (i) Image Analysis (IA) to quantify mineral phase proportions, grain size distribution using the Weka trainable machine learning algorithm. (ii) Portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer (PXRF, Bruker Tracer IV) to quantify the whole-rock's chemical composition. For this purpose, a specific calibration method dedicated to igneous rocks using the open-source CloudCal app was developed. It was then validated for several key elements (Si, Al, K, Ti, Ca, Fe, Mn, Sr, Ga, Ba, Rb, Zn, Nb, Zr, and Y) by analyzing certified standard reference igneous rocks. (iii) Portable Magnetic Susceptibilimeter (pMS, Bartington MS2K system) to constrain the mineralogical contribution of the samples. The operational conditions for these three methods were tested and optimized by analyzing five unprepared surfaces of igneous rocks ranging from a coarse-grained alkaline granite to a fine-grained porphyric diorite and hence, covering variable grain sizes, mineralogical contents, and whole-rock geochemical compositions. For pMS and PXRF tools, one hundred analyses were conducted as a 10 cm × 10 cm square grid on each sample. Bootstrap analysis was implemented to establish the best grid size sampling to reach an optimized reproducibility of the whole-rock signature. For PXRF analysis, averaged compositions were compared to PXRF analysis on press-pellets and laboratory WD-XRF analysis on fused disk and solution ICP-OES (for major) and solution-ICPMS (for trace element concentrations). Ultimately, this workflow was applied in the field on granitoids from three Roman quarrying sites in the Lavezzi archipelago (southern Corsica) and tested against the Bonifacio granitic War Memorial, for which its provenance is established. Our results confirm this information and open the door to geoarchaeological provenance studies with a high spatial resolution.
... uli et al. including strontium, and requests substantial metadata for each dataset and for individual specimens. This initiative benefits from wide-ranging integrated paleoecology databases, though is currently focused on North America and isotope datasets are sparse. The European, archaeology-specific isotope database IsoArch (https://isoarch.eu/,Salesse et al. 2018) provides locations and summaries of isotope studies in Europe, including bibliographic references, some metadata, and published isoscapes for some countries. IsoMemo (https://isomemo.com/) is another initiative currently under development. This big data project aims to combine isotope data from archaeology, ecology, and the environment ...
Article
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The use of bioavailable strontium in different environments to provenance biological materials has become increasingly common since its first applications in ecology and archaeology almost four decades ago. Provenancing biological materials using strontium isotope ratios requires a map of bioavailable strontium, commonly known as an isoscape, to compare results with. Both producing the isoscape and using it to interpret results present methodological challenges that researchers must carefully consider. A review of current research indicates that, while many archives can be analyzed to produce isoscapes, modern plant materials usually provide the best approximation of bioavailable strontium and can be used alone or combined with other archives if applying machine learning. Domain mapping currently produces the most accurate, most interpretable isoscapes for most research questions; however, machine learning approaches promise to provide more accurate and geographically wide-ranging isoscapes over time. Using strontium isotope analysis for provenancing is most successful when combined with other isotopes and/or trace elements as part of a likelihood approach. Strontium isoscapes that are both appropriate and sufficiently high resolution to answer specific research questions do not exist for most parts of the world. Researchers intending to incorporate strontium analysis into their research designs should expect to conduct primary sampling and analysis to create appropriate isoscapes or refine existing ones, which should themselves not be uncritically utilized. When sampling, it is essential to collect appropriate metadata; these metadata and the results of the analyses should be archived in one of several online databases to maximize their usefulness. With increasing amounts of primary data and the likely increased availability of machine learning approaches to mapping, strontium analysis will continue to improve as a method of provenancing.
... The baseline for the terrestrial protein component of the diet was set using 17 coeval faunal remains recovered from excavations at Rome (6 from Castel Malnome, 2 from Via Padre Semeria and 9 coming from Colosseum Area), to be used as ecological reference data, supplemented by previously published data for the same geographic and chronological frames. These published data were downloaded from IsoArcH database in several queries performed on or before October 30, 2019 (Salesse et al. 2018;Prowse 2001;O'Connell et al. 2019). ...
Article
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This paper aims to provide a broad diet reconstruction for people buried in archaeologically defined contexts in Rome (first to third centuries CE), in order to combine archaeological and biological evidence focusing on dietary preferences in Imperial Rome. A sample of 214 human bones recovered from 6 funerary contexts was selected for carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis. The baseline for the terrestrial protein component of the diet was set using 17 coeval faunal remains recovered from excavations at Rome supplemented by previously published data for the same geographic and chronological frames. δ13C ranges from − 19.9 to − 14.8‰, whereas δ15N values are between 7.2 and 10.0‰. The values are consistent with an overall diet mainly based on terrestrial resources. All the human samples rely on a higher trophic level than the primary consumer faunal samples. Certainly, C3 plants played a pivotal role in the dietary habits. However, C4 plants also seem to have been consumed, albeit they were not as widespread and were not always used for human consumption. The environment played a critical role also for Romans of lower social classes. The topographical location determined the preferential consumption of food that people could obtain from their neighborhood.
... prospective users can be added to the web map by emailing Scaffidi. Collaborative databases like those developed in other world regions (Salesse et al., 2018;Willmes et al., 2018;Hermann et al., 2020) are absolutely critical for fully characterizing isotopic variability in this difficult-totraverse region. ...
Article
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The analysis of 87 Sr/ 86 Sr has become a robust tool for identifying non-local individuals at archeological sites. The 87 Sr/ 86 Sr in human bioapatite reflects the geological signature of food and water consumed during tissue development. Modeling relationships between 87 Sr/ 86 Sr in human environments, food webs, and archeological human tissues is critical for moving from identifying non-locals to determining their likely provenience. In the Andes, obstacles to sample geolocation include overlapping 87 Sr/ 86 Sr of distant geographies and a poor understanding of mixed strontium sources in food and drink. Here, water is investigated as a proxy for bioavailable strontium in archeological human skeletal and dental tissues. This study develops a water 87 Sr/ 86 Sr isoscape from 262 samples (220 new and 42 published samples), testing the model with published archeological human skeletal 87 Sr/ 86 Sr trimmed of probable non-locals. Water 87 Sr/ 86 Sr and prediction error between the predicted and measured 87 Sr/ 86 Sr for the archeological test set are compared by elevation, underlying geology, and watershed size. Across the Peruvian Andes, water 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ranges from 0.7049 to 0.7227 (M = 0.7081, SD = 0.0027). Water 87 Sr/ 86 Sr is higher in the highlands, in areas overlying older bedrock, and in larger watersheds, characteristics which are geographically correlated. Spatial outliers identified are from canals, wells, and one stream, suggesting those sources could show non-representative 87 Sr/ 86 Sr. The best-fit water 87 Sr/ 86 Sr isoscape achieves prediction errors for archeological samples ranging from 0.0017-0.0031 (M = 0.0012, n = 493). The water isoscape explains only 7.0% of the variation in archeological skeletal 87 Sr/ 86 Sr (R 2 = 0.07), but 90.0% of archeological skeleton 87 Sr/ 86 Sr fall within the site isoscape prediction ± site prediction standard error. Due to lower sampling density and higher geological variability in the highlands, the water 87 Sr/ 86 Sr isoscape is more useful for ruling out geographic origins for lowland Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution | www.frontiersin.org 1 September 2020 | Volume 8 | Article 281 Scaffidi et al. A Water 87 Sr/ 86 Sr Isoscape for the Peruvian Andes dwellers than for highlanders. Baseline studies are especially needed in the highlands and poorly sampled regions. Because the results demonstrate that a geostatistical water model is insufficient for fully predicting human 87 Sr/ 86 Sr variation, future work will incorporate additional substrates like plants, fauna, soils, and dust, aiming to eventually generate a regression and process-based mixing model for the probabilistic geolocation of Andean samples.
... The baseline for the terrestrial protein component of the diet was set using 17 coeval faunal remains recovered from excavations at Rome (6 from Castel Malnome, 2 from Via Padre Semeria and 9 coming from Colosseum Area), to be used as ecological reference data, supplemented by previously published data for the same geographic and chronological frames. These published data were downloaded from IsoArcH database in several queries performed on or before October 30, 2019 (Salesse et al. 2018;Prowse 2001;O'Connell et al. 2019). ...
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This paper aims to provide a broad diet reconstruction for people buried in archaeologically defined contexts in Rome (1 st -3 rd centuries CE), in order to combine archaeological and biological evidence focusing on dietary preferences in Imperial Rome. A sample of 214 human bones recovered from 6 funerary contexts were selected for carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis. The baseline for the terrestrial protein component of the diet was set using 17 coeval faunal remains recovered from excavations at Rome supplemented by previously published data for the same geographic and chronological frames. δ ¹³ C ranges from −19.95‰ to −14.78‰, whereas δ ¹⁵ N values are between 7.17‰ and 10.00‰. The values are consistent with an overall diet mainly based on terrestrial resources. All the human samples rely on a higher trophic level than the primary consumer faunal samples. Certainly, C 3 plants played a pivotal role in the dietary habits. However, C 4 plants also seem to have been consumed, albeit they were not as widespread and were not always used for human consumption. The environment played a critical role also for Romans of lower social classes. The topographical location determined the preferential consumption of food that people could obtain from their neighborhood.
... A. Sengeløv, et al. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 31 (2020) 102285 isotopic data together with other supporting information from this study has been added to the IsoArcH database (Salesse et al., 2018;URL 3). ...
Article
This paper contributes to the current debate regarding the ethno-cultural identity and origins of the post-Archaic (5th to 4th centuries BCE) population of the town of Satricum by introducing bioarchaeologial data including strontium isotope ratios, strontium concentrations, δ¹³C and δ¹⁸O values of tooth enamel, as well as dental morphological traits. Previous studies suggested a change in the original Latin population of ancient Satricum as a result of migrating groups called the Volscians coming from the eastern mountainous hinterland of Latium. The purportedly relatively short occupation of Satricum (ca. 150 years) by the Volscians during the post-Archaic period increases the chance of identifying the first generation of migrants coming from the mountains. Individuals from three presumable Volscian necropoleis in Satricum are analyzed. Forty-three third molars were sampled for isotope and elemental analyses. All individuals appear to be “local” based on their strontium and oxygen isotope ratios. However, three individuals have statistically lower strontium isotope ratios than the rest, two of which originate from two intersecting graves. These two also have the lowest strontium concentrations, potentially suggesting they are spatially and possibly biologically related. At the group level, the strontium concentration data show a clear difference between the necropoleis. An additional difference is in the dental non-metric trait frequencies, with a biodistance analysis suggesting the necropoleis contain different gene pools (MMD score of 0.789). It is hard to determine if these data suggest (1) a population that experienced fast and marked gene flow between use of the necropoleis, or (2) a population with large, distinct kin groups using different necropoleis. Nonetheless, the data show that the 5th to 4th century BCE was a period of change in Satricum and this work paves the way for future research as we strive to understand the origins and identities of these peoples.
... Nitrogen content in the human samples was between 11.2% and 17.3%, and in the faunal samples between 6.1% and 17.3%. Complete isotopic data, together with associated chronological and other supporting information, from this study are listed in the Appendix, and have also been added in the IsoArcH database (Salesse et al. 2018(Salesse et al. , 2019 The δ 13 C values of the faunal samples range (Table 1) from −21.9 to −19.2‰ (mean = -20.5 ± 0.7‰, 1 SD; median = −20.5‰) The δ 15 N values of the faunal samples ranged from 4.5‰ to 8.6‰ ...
Article
The diet of the Lombard (Langobard) population of the Kyjov site (5th-6th centuries AD, Moravia, Czech Republic) was reconstructed from carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotopic values in the bone collagen from 73 human and 19 faunal samples. Results indicate that the diet of the Lombard population sample was based on C3 plants and animal proteins. The presence of three outliers with δ13C values above−18‰, however, suggests that millet was accessible and consumed by at least some members of the community in substantial quantities. Given the dating and exogenous character of the grave goods, these individuals are most probably members of the indigenous population of Moravia who grew millet before the arrival of the Lombards. The Lombard population shows a sex-based difference in the consumption of animal protein, with males on average showing higher values of δ15N than females. These findings match well with the (limited) prior isotopic research into the Central European phase of the Lombard migration. This study thus significantly enhances our knowledge about general trends in the dietary behaviour of Central European Lombards.
... Isotopic data, together with associated chronological and other supporting information from this study, have been added in the IsoArcH database (Salesse et al., 2018;Salesse et al., 2019). ...
Article
Gabii was established around the 8th century BCE in the province of Latium and was considered to be a sister city to Rome. In an effort to learn more about its settlers and their dietary patterns, stable isotope analysis was conducted using skeletal remains from eight individuals found in chamber tomb burials dating to the Archaic period (6th–5th centuries BCE). The δ¹⁵N (9.3‰ to 11.5‰) and δ¹³Cco (−20.5‰ to −18.9‰) from bone collagen as well as the δ¹³Cap (−13.2‰ to −9.5‰) from the bone apatite demonstrate that Archaic Gabines' diet consisted mainly of terrestrial protein in conjunction with C3 plants. In comparing the Archaic diet with the earlier Iron Age and later Imperial diets, a shift towards more positive carbon and nitrogen values is seen through time, suggesting both the introduction of new foods and the correlative relationship between foodways and the rise of urbanism in Latium.
... Analysis of stable isotope ratios of carbon (δ 13 C) and nitrogen (δ 15 N) in soft and hard human tissues is a widely used and powerful tool to investigate modern and past diets (DeNiro and Epstein, 1976;Kaupová et al., 2014Kaupová et al., , 2018Polet and Katzenberg, 2003;Richards et al., 1998;Salesse et al., 2013Salesse et al., , 2018Schwarcz et al., 1985). Isotopic values of human bodies derive from values of consumed food but are generally shifted due to predictable diet-tissue spacing specific to each element. ...
Article
Objective: This paper aims at investigating the possible existence of isotopic offsets in δ13Ccol and δ15Ncol values in relation to tertiary syphilis. Material: Based on materials from the 19th c. A.D. deriving from the pathological-anatomical reference collection (the Jedlička collection) of the National Museum in Prague (Czech Republic), a comparative approach of ten individuals with syphilis and nine without the disease was undertaken. Methods: Bone powder samples were defatted according to the protocol of Liden et al. (1995). Bone collagen was extracted following the protocol of Bocherens et al. (1991). Results: Our results show that individuals with syphilis have lower δ13Ccol values than individuals without the disease; the observed difference between the two groups is about 0.3-0.4‰, which is relatively small but still meaningful. However, no difference between δ15Ncol values of the two groups has been noticed. Conclusions: Either diets prescribed by physicians to syphilitic patients or nutritional stress caused by cyclic appetite disturbance due to the disease itself or the administered medical treatment appeared to be possible explanations of the observed isotopic pattern. Overall, the response of the two isotopic proxies could argue for relatively limited nutritional restrictions. Significance: This is the first study examining bone collagen isotopic response to syphilis based on clinically documented human skeletal materials. Limitations: The sample sizes are relatively small and cautiousness must be taken regarding the interpretations of the data. Suggestions for further research: Compound-specific stable isotope investigations and analysis of mercury content could be helpful to better understand the observed isotopic effects.
... BC): this is the best time period and topographical comparison that could be used to constrain the Bregional^plant isotopic features. Furthermore, a restricted sample of actual crops (5 grain samples) from central Italy has been isotopically analyzed by Brescia et al. (2002) so as these data were recruited in IsoArcH repository (Salesse et al. 2018) to be used for modeling. ...
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The paper aims to point out the subsistence in Eneolithic Central Italian communities by Stable Isotope Analysis. This period marked a tipping point in the food strategies because it was characterized by economic changes and several technological improvements leading to enhance land exploitation and livestock breeding. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis has been used to analyze the food consumption of 54 people belonging to 5 Eneolithic communities scattered throughout Central Italy, where no data have yet been published. The estimation of the main protein intake has been achieved in order to quantify the differences among these communities. The results are consistent with a diet mainly based on terrestrial resources, with no exclusive marine sources consumption, although their occasional usage cannot be ruled out, especially for selected funerary contexts. The data suggest an overall subsistence based on greater local resource procurement, supported by regional productivity maximization. A roughly homogeneous landscape could be outlined in Tuscany and Marche communities witnessing a shared diet preference that could be modified by local preferences. The fully developed trade routes between the two sides of the Apennines could address the overall dietary homogeneity of the studied communities, especially between Fontenoce di Recanati and the southern Tuscan human groups such as Grotta del Fontino and Buca di Spaccasasso, with lesser influence for Le Lellere and Podere Cucule that seem to suggest a more locally based subsistence, even though the funerary affinities do not match this overall diet homogeneity.
... It is quite difficult to generalise the managing practices followed by urban local bodies across the globe, it's mainly based on the religious practices followed in the region and space constraints. * In most of the literature, mapping cemeteries were generally part of archaeological studies (De Laet et al., 2015;Lysandrou and Agapiou, 2016;Salesse et al., 2018;Staboultzidis et al., 2017), and some was categorised in natural developments such as bird diversity in urban space (Tryjanowski et al., 2017). The geographical information system has been utilized in the development of the cemeteries in different parts of the turkey, and there are several projects associated with it. ...
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Cemeteries are being considered as a symbol of love, religion, and culture across the globe. The maps of cemetery and grave are the interest of individuals and communities, who wants to identify the resting place of their beloved ones. It is also crucial to administrators who are building and maintaining cemeteries in urban space. Mapping cemeteries and its graves are complex and challenging since the practices involved in burying and policies for managing are different in regions. It is challenging for an individual to identify the graves of their beloved in a cemetery with thousands of graves. This study aims to address this problem by geotagging individual grave using the smartphone. The developed method allows the user to click pictures of the grave, add information like name, photo, surname, year of birth and death of the individual resting, and also enable the user to add a personal message or poem. These pieces of information are stored along with latitude and longitude are visualised as points on the google map in QGIS platform. In case of gravestones with a proper inscription, the user can mark its boundary so that the text embedded can be recognised automatically using the Google Tesseract OCR library in python environment. The Uncali Cemetery in Antalya had been chosen for this pilot study. The present framework extracted information with the accuracy of 65%.
... Such work is likely to grow in prominence in the coming years and some attempts at establishing data repositories for specific regions are currently underway (e.g. IsoArcH, Salesse et al., 2017), although isotope bioarchaeology (along with other fields of isotope science) has yet to benefit from a single standardised, user-populated repository akin to GenBank (Britton, 2017;Pauli et al., 2017Pauli et al., , 2015. Alongside the more routine use of larger and larger data sets facilitated through better mechanisms of data archiving and sharing, we are also likely to see an increasing uptake and refinement of modelling approaches that enable interpretation and analysis of isotope values in more formalised frameworks that better incorporate the mechanistic and empirical insights into isotopic systems that are continuously developing. ...
Article
Oxygen isotope analyses of skeletal remains (¹⁸O/¹⁶O, δ¹⁸O) are a powerful tool for exploring major themes in bioarchaeology (the study of biological archaeological remains) and can aid in the reconstruction of past human-environment interactions, socio-cultural decisions and individual life histories. Making use of the preserved animal and human tooth and bone commonly found at archaeological sites, applications include the reconstruction of palaeoclimate and palaeoseasonality; animal husbandry and management practices; human and animal lifetime mobility and provenance; and cultural practices such as breastfeeding, weaning and even past culinary preparation techniques. With a range of other uses across the natural, physical, chemical and biological sciences, oxygen isotope analyses are also highly cross-disciplinary, with developments in the field of isotope bioarchaeology potentially feeding into other fields and vice-versa. The purpose of this paper is to provide a summary of the biogeochemical background of oxygen isotope systematics from the water cycle to human and animal skeletal tissues for archaeologists and other scientists, and to explore how these have been utilised in terrestrial bioarchaeological research. In this way, we aim to provide an overview resource for stable isotope analysts in archaeology and the wider earth science community, as well as for archaeological practitioners and consumers interested in specific applications. By providing a summary of fundamental isotope mechanics alongside a review of recent developments in the field, we hope to highlight the potential of oxygen isotope bioarchaeology to not only reveal environmental and ecological aspects of the past relevant to human groups using archaeological materials, but also to illuminate past human decisions and behaviours. Current limitations and caveats of the approaches used are also explored.
... We combined CIMA medieval isotopic data with Roman isotopic data from the IsoArcH database 93 , to map and compare spatial distribution of human adult bone collagen carbon (δ 13 C -IRMS) and nitrogen (δ 15 N) stable isotopes for three time slices: 200 CE, 500 CE, and 800 CE (Fig. 4). This revealed regional differences in human isotopic values that reflect differences in diet and/or local isotopic baselines plus diachronic shifts associated with historical transitions. ...
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Here we present the Compendium Isotoporum Medii Aevi (CIMA), an open-access database gathering more than 50,000 isotopic measurements for bioarchaeological samples located within Europe and its margins, and dating between 500 and 1500 CE. This multi-isotope (δ¹³C, δ¹⁵N, δ³⁴S, δ¹⁸O, and ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr) archive of measurements on human, animal, and plant archaeological remains also includes a variety of supporting information that offer, for instance, a taxonomic characterization of the samples, their location, and chronology, in addition to data on social, religious, and political contexts. Such a dataset can be used to identify data gaps for future research and to address multiple research questions, including those related with studies on medieval human lifeways (i.e. human subsistence, spatial mobility), characterization of paleo-environmental and -climatic conditions, and on plant and animal agricultural management practices. Brief examples of such applications are given here and we also discuss how the integration of large volumes of isotopic data with other types of archaeological and historical data can improve our knowledge of medieval Europe.
... Among IsoMemo partners are stable and radiogenic databases devoted to the storing of archaeological data from varied regions and time periods (e.g. [55][56][57]) although there is still a general lack of awareness of their availability. While data collection requires the overcoming of political and dataretention concerns, it seems reasonable that for archaeological science isotope papers to be published all reported data should either be placed in a similar repository or made fully available in a table within or attached to the publication. ...
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Stable isotope analysis has been utilized in archaeology since the 1970s, yet standardized protocols for terminology, sampling, pretreatment evaluation, calibration, quality assurance and control, data presentation, and graphical or statistical treatment still remain lacking in archaeological applications. Here, we present recommendations and requirements for each of these in the archaeological context of: bulk stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of organics; bulk stable carbon and oxygen isotope analysis of carbonates; single compound stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis on amino acids in collagen and keratin; and single compound stable carbon and hydrogen isotope analysis on fatty acids. The protocols are based on recommendations from the Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) [1] as well as an expanding geochemical and archaeological science experimental literature. We hope that this will provide a useful future reference for authors and reviewers engaging with the growing number of stable isotope applications and datasets in archaeology.
... Combined Sr-Nd isotope results were obtained for 37 individuals ( Fig. 2 ). The full dataset described in Table 1 is available on IsoArcH [1] in .xlsx format and includes more detailed geographical information of the samples (latitude, longitude, altitude and distance from sea) as well as a .ris ...
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This collection presents data on neodymium isotopes from modern dental elements (third molars) of 47 individuals born and raised in the Netherlands, Grenada, Curaçao, Bonaire, Columbia and Iceland. Neodymium isotope composition was successfully analyzed for 40 individuals (ranging between 0.511820 and 0.512773 143Nd/144Nd and -16.0 to 2.6 εNd), with neodymium concentration data available for 23 individuals (ranging between 0.1 and 21.0 ppb). For 37 individuals the dental elements have also been analyzed for strontium isotopes. All analyses were performed on a Thermo Scientific Triton Plus TIMS. Neodymium analyses were performed using 1013 Ω resistors, with samples reanalyzed using 1011 Ω resistors if enough sample was available. Strontium analyses were performed using 1011Ω resistors. A discussion about the applicability of the analysis technique and the results can be found in the article “Evaluation of neodymium isotope analysis of human dental enamel as a provenance indicator using 1013 Ω amplifiers (TIMS)”. This dataset is available for verification of the provenance capability of neodymium isotope analysis in archaeological and forensic mobility studies. To ensure the interoperability and reusability of the data, the data is available on the IsoArcH (https://isoarch.eu/) data repository.
... Statistical analysis and data visualization were conducted using R software (Core Team, 2000) and data management were followed using the IsoArcH structure for managing isotopic data (Salesse et al., 2018). The data supporting the findings of this study are available within the article and its supplementary materials. ...
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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.
... All the variables which appear in the dataset are explained in a detailed way in the IsoArcH platform ( https://isoarch.eu/) [1] . We intend to update the Brazilian isotopic database in IsoArcH gradually as the new publications releases. ...
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Three decades have passed since the publication in 1991 of the first use of stable isotope analysis applied to a Brazilian archaeological context. Despite being still mainly applied to palaeodietary research, stable isotope analysis in archaeology has been diversified in Brazil. In the last five years, an increasing number of studies has addressed various issues. Such issues are related to population mobility, social differentiation, health and children care, changes and resilience of cultural practices, identification of the origin of enslaved populations brought by force from the African continent, among others. However, research in this area is still incipient when compared to the large territory of Brazil (WGS 84: -33˚ to 5°N, -73˚ to -34˚E), the diversity of socio-cultural contexts of pre-colonial and indigenous societies, and to the country's historical formation process. In terms of radiocarbon dates, data are also sparse and lack of essential information as the material used for dating, as this information could be related to necessary corrections, e.g., the marine reservoir effect. The first radiocarbon dates of Brazilian archaeological material are reported, however, since 1950s and have more frequently reported in publications across Brazil since the installation of the first Brazilian radiocarbon laboratory (CENA/USP) in 1990 and the first Latin American ¹⁴C-AMS facility (LAC-UFF) in 2012. Thus, the purpose of this compilation was to gather all dispersed, and often fragmented, data from analyses of stable and radioactive (focusing on radiocarbon) isotopes carried out in Brazilian archaeological contexts. We compiled data from 1991 until the end of November 2021. The data included here contain information from 71 archaeological sites, 556 humans, 219 animals and 2 plants. Isotopic analyses were performed on 832 organic samples, mainly paired δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N plus δ³⁴S measurements, and on 265 mineral samples, mainly δ¹³C, δ¹⁸O and ⁸⁶Sr/⁸⁷Sr measurements. Sr concentrations for 49 mineral samples were also compiled. Radiocarbon or relative dates span from 18 kyr BP to the present. All data from this compilation are deposited in open access on the IsoArcH platform (https://doi.isoarch.eu/doi/2021.005). This extensive work aims to point out the gaps on stable isotopes and radiocarbon dates provided for Brazilian archaeological contexts that could be further explored. Besides, it aims to promote easy access to numerous analyses that, otherwise, would be hard to obtain. Lastly, it seeks broadening the interdisciplinary collaboration in Brazil and strengthening the international collaboration among peers.
... Isotopic data were managed using isotopes data management practice recommended by the IsoArcH association for future metadata analysis (Salesse et al., 2018). All statistical analyses were performed using R (R Core Team, 2000). ...
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The site of Pella, located in the foothills of the east Jordan valley, was a prosperous city-state throughout the Middle Bronze Age (MBA, ca. 2000—1500 BCE). As part of a widespread trading network, Pella enjoyed extensive socio-economic relationships with Egypt, Cyprus and the Aegean, Anatolia and Babylonia during this period. We report isotopic analysis (⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr, δ¹⁸O, and δ¹³C) from enamel of 22 human permanent second molars of which 13 second lower molars were used for an additional biodistance analysis based on ASUDAS. The multidisciplinary approach investigates the ancestral background of MBA Pella and the degree of temporary or more permanent relocation from other settlements. Ancillary to carbonate isotope analysis for migration investigation, dietary information in the form of δ¹³Ccarbonate was also collected. δ¹³Ccarbonate values (mean -12.3‰ ± 0.4 SD) suggests a uniform diet reliant on C3 cereals and legumes as crops and animal fodder, adhering to expected Bronze Age Levantine dietary norms. Two methods are used to identify non-locals. Using a biospheric baseline, three individuals with non-local ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr ratios are identified. Bagplot analysis of both ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr and δ¹⁸O data suggests that three individuals (14%) grew up elsewhere; two individuals who were already identified as ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr outliers using biospheric data and one more with outlying δ¹⁸O values. All individuals identified as non-locals, using either method, are from one tomb, Tomb 62. The dental nonmetric traits indicated diverse morphology and subsequent ancestry for Tomb 62 (11 out 13), whereas primary burials (2/13) clustered together. The commingled condition of Tomb 62 material prevented a more exhaustive biodistance analysis, but the tentative results coincide with interpretations of the tomb. Significant movements of populations throughout the Middle Bronze Age are evidenced through funerary rituals and architecture, and this study demonstrates that Pella, thought to be peripheral, nonetheless had some permanent movement evidenced through isotopes and ancestry analysis.
... ). A description of the larger IsoArcH data management project to which this article contributes is provided in Salesse et al. [14] . Figure 1 is a map of Bahrain showing approximate site locations. ...
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This dataset presents carbon, nitrogen, oxygen (carbonates and phosphate) and strontium data from human and faunal remains from that portion of seven assemblages from Jordan and Bahrain currently curated at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. Human remains from Bahraini assemblages include the Middle Islamic Period (c. 1,400-1,500 AD) cemetery associated with the Qal'at al-Bahrain fort (n=49) and the Early Dilmun City IIa-c Period (c. 2,350-1,800 BC) assemblages of Saar (n=31), Buri North (n=41) and Buri South (n=17). The Saar assemblage, at the time of sampling at the Smithsonian Institution, also included individuals recovered from isolated tombs outside the Saar mound field, with distinct alphanumeric or name designations. The Buri assemblage also contained one individual labeled BE (Buri East). Assemblages from Jordan include Early Bronze Age IB (c. 3,550-3,150 BC) Bab-edh Dhra (91 individuals selected of a total MNI of 274), the Iron Age IA (c. 1,250-1,100 BC) assemblage from a commingled cave burial from the Ba'Qa Valley (n=63), and the Late Roman (c. 200-300 AD) assemblage from Zabayir Zahir edh-Diyab, also known as the Queen Alia International Airport assemblage (n=69). Not all individuals from whom a bone sample was taken had a suitable tooth to sample as well. A cumulative total of 13 faunal samples (bone and teeth; cattle and sheep) were also obtained from the Bahraini assemblages, all but two from the Bronze Age assemblages. Results in general are consistent with those from other assemblages from both locations regardless of time period, but they also complement and expand what is known about long-distance migration and dietary diversity and resilience across time within marginal desert environments (e.g., [11]; [16]; [7,8]).
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The arrival of the Longobards in Italy represents one of the most significant periods of the Early Middle Ages. Such arrival had social and political implications, particularly in relation to cultural admixture with local communities. One way to understand this is through the reconstruction of paleodiet via stable isotope analysis. So far, the subsistence strategy of this population in central Italy remains poorly explored. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses are presented here on a total of 19 human bone collagen samples from the cemetery of Castel Trosino. This isotopic investigation contributes to the dietary reconstruction of Early Medieval populations in Italy, providing a crucial isotopic dataset for an area still poorly explored.
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The tooth enamel from the human remains of ten archaeological individuals belonging to a chalcolithic site at Inamgaon, District Pune, Maharashtra, were analysed for stable carbon and oxygen isotope compositions. The human remains of the involved individuals come from three consecutive periods: Period I (1600-1400 BC; n=2), Period II (1400 - 1000 BC; n=4), and Period III (1000 - 700 BC; n=4). Enamel carbonate of twenty teeth (n=20), two from each individual, were analysed to understand the inter- and intra- individual variations in isotope ratios across the three habitational periods. The acquired dataset will help in understanding isotope baseline values for the region in the prehistoric context. The subsequent research works in the region can reuse our data in collation with other datasets for comparative investigations.
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The high temperatures reached during cremation lead to the destruction of organic matter preventing the use of traditional isotopic methods for dietary reconstructions. Still, strontium isotope (87 Sr/ 86 Sr) and concentration ([Sr]) analyses of cremated human remains offer a novel way to assess changing consumption patterns in past populations that practiced cremation, as evidenced by a large amount of new data obtained from Metal Ages and Gallo-Roman human remains from Destelbergen, Belgium. The Gallo-Roman results show significantly higher [Sr] and a narrower interquartile range in 87 Sr/ 86 Sr (0.7093-0.7095), close to the value of modern-day seawater (0.7092). This contrasts with the Metal Ages results, which display lower concentrations and a wider range in 87 Sr/ 86 Sr (0.7094-0.7098). This typical Sr signature is also reflected in other sites and is most likely related to an introduction of marine Sr in the form of salt as a food preservative (e.g. salt-rich preserved meat, fish and fish sauce). Paradoxically, this study highlights caution is needed when using 87 Sr/ 86 Sr for palaeomobility studies in populations with high salt consumption.
Article
Arguably one of the key elements that would come to define Roman society, mobility played a primary role in the expansion and maintenance of Roman authority. With the acquisition of ever- expanding territory and the establishment of new provinces came opportunities for both outward mobility from the Roman heartland as well as immigration to Rome. Discussions of mobility within the Roman empire typically focus on contexts from Rome proper and surrounding regions, while comparatively less is known regarding mobility in the provincial territories. The study presented herein utilises δ¹⁸O values from the second molar (M2) dental enamel of 39 adults, 20 of whom were additionally analysed for ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr, to assess for potential mobility events among individuals interred in the ca. 1st to 3rd c. CE Gallo-Roman necropolis of Rue Jacques Brel in the Aquitaine region of France. Located in the modern-day municipality of Saintes, Jacques Brel functioned as a manufacturing location on the periphery of Mediolanum Santonum, the capital of Roman Aquitaine. While several individuals have isotope values that fall outside of the expected local δ¹⁸Odw and ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr ranges, suggesting mobility events, combine bagplot analysis of δ¹⁸Odw and ⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr did not identify any distinct outliers, bringing into question the nature of mobility to the site of Rue Jacques Brel. The small proportion of individuals identified as non-local among the individuals sampled from the Rue Jacques Brel necropolis raises several questions regarding the nature of mobility within Roman provincial settings and implications of site size and function on mobility. Lay summary One of the main questions about living in the Roman empire was “who was mobile?” With such a large territory covered by the Roman empire there were many opportunities to move from place to place, with some of the most common reasons for moving resulting from military deployment, government administration positions, and business ventures. Among the studies conducted to date, a significant number have focused on mobility to the capital of Rome itself, while fewer studies have looked directly at mobility in provincial contexts. The study presented here focusses on mobility to a provincial site in western France, a short distance from Bordeaux, called Rue Jacques Brel Necropolis. This site was the location of a small manufacturing operation and has an associated cemetery. Using statistical analyses of chemical data, it was possible to gain insights to potential mobility among the individuals interred in this cemetery. Of 39 individuals investigated, only a small number appeared truly non-local to the area of Rue Jacques Brel. Additional statistical analysis did not identify any distinct outliers, which brings forth several questions about approaches to gauging mobility. Numerous questions remain to be further investigated to help clarify these initial observations.
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Ancient Rome was the largest and most populous empire of its time, and the largest pre-industrial state in European history. Recent though not universally accepted research suggests that at least for the most populous central periods of its history standard of living was also rather higher than before or after. To trace whether this is also reflected in Roman biological standard of living, we present the first large and more or less comprehensive dataset, based on skeletal data for some 10,000 individuals, covering all periods of Roman history, and all regions (even if inevitably unequally). We discuss both the methodologies that we developed and the historical results. Instead of reconstructing heights from the long bones assuming fixed body proportions or from one individual long bone, we apply exploratory factor analysis and calculate factor scores for 50-year periods. Our measure of the biological standard of living declined during the last two centuries B.C. and started to improve again, slowly at first, from the second century A.D. It correlated negatively with population, but also with other aspects of standard of living such as wages or diets.
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Stable isotopic ratios of carbon and nitrogen performed on collagen and tooth enamel offer invaluable insight into the diet of ancient populations. In the northern Balkans, most of these isotopic data have been collected as auxiliary information of radiocarbon dates, to correct a potential marine reservoir effect. In order to facilitate the access of the academic community to these data, we present a set of isotopic carbon and nitrogen ratios of human collagen samples for 188 individuals from 12 previously published sites together with hitherto unreleased data for 24 individuals from 4 sites from the Neolithic and Eneolithic period in Bulgaria and Romania. This collection also includes previously published carbon isotopic ratio measurements on tooth enamel of 34 individuals.
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Whilst marine resources are one of the pillars of the Mediterranean diet, their mode of acquisition and subsequent consumption by medieval populations in southern France are still not well known. Throughout Europe, bioarchaeological techniques, however, are beginning to reveal hitherto unknown aspects of these practices both dating to the medieval period as well as other periods of history and prehistory. This study involved the stable isotope analysis of five marine and catadromous taxa from three medieval sites in Provence, France: "rue Frédéric Mistral" at Fos-sur-Mer, "le Château" at Hyères and "Couvent des Dominicaines - Parking/Collège Mignet" at Aix-en-Provence. In total, 127 specimens, including Anguilla anguilla, Dicentrarchus labrax, Sparus aurata, Diplodus sargus sargus and Mugilidae were subjected to carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis. The study provides a crucial and unprecedented point of reference of the carbon and nitrogen isotopic variability of one of the main dietary resources in the Mediterranean world, fish.
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This dataset is comprised of paired radiocarbon (¹⁴C) dates, and carbon (δ¹³C) and nitrogen (δ¹⁵N) stable isotope ratios received for skeletal remains of 18 humans and 6 animals. These remains were archaeologically-derived from a Late Neolithic passage grave in Kierzkowo, located in today's north-central Poland. All human individuals were sexed and aged by physical anthropologists; animal skeletal remains were identified by zooarchaeologists. Collagen samples were extracted from bones, radiocarbon dated by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) and stable carbon and nitrogen isotope compositions measured by isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS). The samples were collected and analysed to establish the absolute chronology of the tomb, estimate the frequency of burials, reconstruct the diets of humans and animals and trace their temporal changes. This is a largest dataset for skeletal samples (n = 24) from a single megalithic tomb in East-Central Europe and has a utility to be reused in various archaeological and palaeoenvironmental studies.
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Rationale: Strontium isotope (87 Sr/86 Sr) analysis of skeletal remains has become a powerful tool in archaeological studies of human migration and mobility. Owing to its resistance to post-mortem alteration dental enamel is the preferred sampling material used for 87 Sr/86 Sr analysis in bioarchaeological provenance research, although recent studies have demonstrated that cremated bone is also generally resistant to diagenesis. This paper presents the results of a pilot study exploring the potential of unburnt petrous bone (pars petrosa) as a reservoir of biogenic (diagenetically unaltered) strontium, as the otic capsule or bony labyrinth within the petrous bone is extremely dense and is thought to be unable to remodel after early childhood, potentially providing an alternative for dental enamel METHODS: From an individual from a colonial era (18th century) site on the island of Saba in the Caribbean for whom previous enamel 87 Sr/86 Sr results had indicated nonlocal origins, multiple locations (n = 4) on the petrous were sampled and measured for strontium isotope composition. Saba (13 km2 ) has been extensively mapped for baseline strontium isotopes (n = 50) with 87 Sr/86 Sr varying between ~0.7065 to 0.7090, whereas enamel 87 Sr/86 Sr (n= 3) ranged from 0.7104 to 0.7112. Results: All four petrous 87 Sr/86 Sr (0.7111-0.7122) are consistently and considerably higher than the local bioavailable range, and very similar to the enamel 87 Sr/86 Sr. These results provide initial evidence that unburnt petrous bones may preserve biogenic strontium, at least in this specific burial context. Conclusion: While more research in diverse burial conditions is needed to validate this observation, if confirmed, it would have broader implications for sample selection strategies in bioarchaeological studies using the strontium isotope method.
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This paper presents a case study of a young infant, from a larger isotopic and osteological investigation of Bronze/Iron Age (14th-4th century BCE) skeletal assemblages from Croatia and Slovenia. The osteological analysis of this infant identified pathological lesions including abnormal porosity and new bone formation consistent with malnutrition and phases of recovery. The distribution and appearance of these pathological lesions (i.e. diffuse micro-porosities and plaques of subperiosteal new bone formation on the skull and long bones) led to the conclusion that this infant probably suffered from scurvy (vitamin C deficiency). The diet and nitrogen balance of this individual were investigated by incremental dentine sampling and stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis. This sampling method provided a high resolution record of dietary and metabolic changes from pre-birth to around the time of death. The resulting isotope data exhibited unusually high δ¹³C values for this region and time period (between −11.3‰ and −12.6‰), while δ¹⁵N values were observed to be c. 3‰ above that of rib collagen sampled from contemporary adults recovered from the same site. The isotope profiles generated from the incremental dentine analysis show that δ¹³C and especially δ¹⁵N continue to increase until death. The evidence from the skeletal remains and high resolution isotopic data support the hypothesis that this infant suffered from severe malnutrition and an increasingly negative nitrogen balance. The paper discusses some scenarios which could have resulted in these unusual isotope ratios, whilst considering the diagnosis of possible metabolic disease. The paper also addresses the need for context when interpreting isotopic results. The isotope data should not be viewed in isolation, but rather as part of a multidisciplinary approach, considering the multiple causes of isotopic variability.
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This paper aims to define the dietary profile of the population of early medieval Rome (fifth–eleventh centuries CE) by carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis. This period was characterized by deep changes in the city’s economic, demographic, and social patterns, probably affecting its inhabitants’ nutritional habits. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of bone collagen was used to detect the nutritional profile of 110 humans from six communities inhabiting the city center of Rome and one from the ancient city of Gabii. Thirteen faunal remains were also analyzed to define the ecological baseline of the medieval communities. The isotopic results are consistent with a diet mainly based on the exploitation of C3 plant resources and terrestrial fauna, while the consumption of aquatic resources was detected only among the San Pancrazio population. Animal protein intake proved to be similar both among and within the communities, supporting a qualitatively homogenous dietary landscape in medieval Rome. The comparison with isotopic data from the Imperial Age allowed us to detect a diachronic nutritional transition in ancient Rome, in which the collapse of the Empire, and in particular the crisis of economic power and the trade system, represented a tipping point for its population’s nutritional habits.
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This paper reviews the significant advances in isotopic investigations in Andean South America and directs scholars to explore new theoretical and analytical directions, specifically the applicability of isotope data to paleopathology. Excellent preservation and large skeletal collections of human remains make the Central Andes ideal for biogeochemical reconstructions and advancements in isotopic methods. Our aims are twofold: first, we present a meta-analysis of stable and radiogenic isotope research in the Central Andes since 1985, and highlight those that combine analyses of isotope ratios and pathological conditions. Second, we discuss useful directions for incorporating stable isotope analysis more explicitly in studies of paleopathology in the Andes more in the future. Principle research foci have described dietary variation and regional population mobility since the 1980s, where early methodological explorations identified significant trends in isotopic variation. For the years 1980–2017, we identified 96 scholarly publications through a meta-data analysis of major peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and conference proceedings. These demonstrate specific trends in topical and methodological preferences across the Andean region and a shift from 10 publications pre-1997 to 67 in the last 10 years. However, combined isotope and paleopathology studies in this region remain sparse; given the ecological, geological, and cultural complexity of the Central Andes, analyses of pathological conditions in different regions would significantly benefit from the information on diet, mobility, and local ecology that isotope ratios provide. Isotope analysis requires destruction of archaeological tissues, and interpreting isotope data can be complex, but it can also provide unique insights into the pathogenesis of multifactorial conditions and assist differential diagnosis. Therefore, we also discuss research designs for pairing isotopic and paleopathological variables that will allow researchers to better capture disease ecologies in archaeological samples and their variation across different regions, within related sites, and within individual lifespans.
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Growing scientific evidence from modern climate science is loaded with implications for the environmental history of the Roman Empire and its successor societies. The written and archaeological evidence, although richer than commonly realized, is unevenly distributed over time and space. A first synthesis of what the written records and multiple natural archives (multi-proxy data) indicate about climate change and variability across western Eurasia from c. 100 b.c. to 800 a.d. confirms that the Roman Empire rose during a period of stable and favorable climatic conditions, which deteriorated during the Empire's third-century crisis. A second, briefer period of favorable conditions coincided with the Empire's recovery in the fourth century; regional differences in climate conditions parallel the diverging fates of the eastern and western Empires in subsequent centuries. Climate conditions beyond the Empire's boundaries also played an important role by affecting food production in the Nile valley, and by encouraging two major migrations and invasions of pastoral peoples from Central Asia.
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The spread of farming from western Asia to Europe had profound long-term social and ecological impacts, but identification of the specific nature of Neolithic land management practices and the dietary contribution of early crops has been problematic. Here, we present previously undescribed stable isotope determinations of charred cereals and pulses from 13 Neolithic sites across Europe (dating ca. 5900-2400 cal B.C.), which show that early farmers used livestock manure and water management to enhance crop yields. Intensive manuring inextricably linked plant cultivation and animal herding and contributed to the remarkable resilience of these combined practices across diverse climatic zones. Critically, our findings suggest that commonly applied paleodietary interpretations of human and herbivore δ(15)N values have systematically underestimated the contribution of crop-derived protein to early farmer diets.
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Funerary practices and bioarchaeological (sex and age) data suggest that a mortality crisis linked to an epidemic episode occurred during the fifth phase of the St. Benedict cemetery in Prague (Czech Republic). To identify this mass mortality episode, we reconstructed individual life histories (dietary and mobility factors), assessed the population's biological homogeneity, and proposed a new chronology through stable isotope analysis (δ(13) C, δ(18) O and δ(15) N) and direct radiocarbon dating. Stable isotope analysis was conducted on the bone and tooth enamel (collagen and carbonate) of 19 individuals from three multiple graves (MG) and 12 individuals from individual graves (IG). The δ(15) N values of collagen and the difference between the δ(13) C values of collagen and bone carbonate could indicate that the IG individuals had a richer protein diet than the MG individuals or different food resources. The human bone and enamel carbonate and δ(18) O values suggest that the majority of individuals from MG and all individuals from IG spent most of their lives outside of the Bohemian region. Variations in δ(18) O values also indicate that all individuals experienced residential mobility during their lives. The stable isotope results, biological (age and sex) data and eight (14) C dates clearly differentiate the MG and IG groups. The present work provides evidence for the reuse of the St. Benedict cemetery to bury soldiers despite the funeral protest ban (1635 AD). The Siege of Prague (1742 AD) by French-Bavarian-Saxon armies is identified as the cause of the St. Benedict mass mortality event. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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This paper reviews the research into the methodology of lead isotope provenance studies carried out at the University of Oxford between 1975 and 2002, at first in the Department of Geology (Geological Age and Isotope Research Laboratory), later in the Isotrace Laboratory based in the Department of Nuclear Physics, and eventually part of the Research Laboratory of Archaeology and the History of Art. These 27years of intensive work, funded initially by the Stiftung Volkswagenwerk, and later from numerous UK Government and Charitable funds and finally by the Institute of Aegean Prehistory laid the foundations of the lead isotope provenance methodology and resulted in a large database of analytical isotope and elemental results. In spite of the efforts of the authors, this database is still not comprehensively published or easily accessible in a digital format by all researchers interested in using this method for their projects. The possibilities of advancing this situation are discussed. The authors discuss in detail the basic restrictions and advantages of using the lead isotope compositions of ores in mineral deposits for finding the origin of the raw materials used for making ancient artefacts. Methods for the scientific interpretation of the data are discussed, including attempts to use statistical methods. The methodology of creating the Oxford lead isotope database (OXALID) is outlined and a summary is given of the lead isotope resource provided by OXALID.
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Differential fractionation of stable isotopes of carbon during photosynthesis causes C-4 plants and C-3 plants to have distinct carbon-isotope signatures. In addition, marine C-3 plants have stable-isotope ratios of carbon that are intermediate between C-4 and terrestrial C-3 plants. The direct incorporation of the carbon-isotope ratio (C-13/C-12) of plants into consumers' tissues makes this ratio useful in studies of animal ecology. The heavy isotope of nitrogen (N-15) is preferentially incorporated into the tissues of the consumer from the diet, which results in a systematic enrichment in nitrogen-isotope ratio (N-15/N-14) with each trophic level. Consequently, stable isotopes of nitrogen have been used primarily to assess position in food chains. The literature pertaining to the use of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in animal trophic ecology was reviewed. Data from 102 studies that reported stable-isotope ratios of carbon and (or) nitrogen of wild birds and (or) mammals were compiled and analyzed relative to diet, latitude, body size, and habitat moisture. These analyses supported the predicted relationships among trophic groups. Carbon-isotope ratios differed among species that relied on C-3, C-4, and marine food chains. Likewise, nitrogen-isotope ratios were enriched in terrestrial carnivorous mammals relative to terrestrial herbivorous mammals. Also, marine carnivores that ate vertebrates had nitrogen-isotope ratios that were enriched over the ratios of those that ate invertebrates. Data from the literature also indicated that (i) the carbon-isotope ratio of carnivore bone collagen was inversely related to latitude, which was likely the result of an inverse relationship between the proportion of carbon in the food chain that was fixed by C-4 plants and latitude; (ii) seabirds and marine mammals from northern oceans had higher nitrogen-isotope ratios than those from southern oceans; (iii) the nitrogen-isotope ratios of terrestrial mammals that used xeric habitats were higher than the ratios of those that used mesic habitats, indicating that water stress can have important effects on the nitrogen-isotope ratio; (iv) there was no relationship between body mass and nitrogen-isotope ratio for either bone collagen or muscle of carnivores; and (v) there was linear covariation between stable-isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen in marine food chains (but not in terrestrial C-3 or C-4 food chains), which is likely a product of increases in carbon-isotope ratio with trophic level in marine food chains. Differences in stable-isotope composition among trophic groups were detected despite variation attributable to geographic location, climate, and analytical techniques, indicating that these effects are large and pervasive. Consequently, as knowledge of the distribution of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen increases, they will probably become an increasingly important tool in the study of avian and mammalian trophic ecology.
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We present a novel approach to study the sustainability of ancient Mediterranean agriculture that combines the measurement of carbon isotope discrimination (Delta(13)C) and nitrogen isotope composition (delta(15)N) along with the assessment of quality traits in fossil cereal grains. Charred grains of naked wheat and barley were recovered in Los Castillejos, an archaeological site in SE Spain, with a continuous occupation of ca. 1500 years starting soon after the origin of agriculture (ca. 4000 BCE) in the region. Crop water status and yield were estimated from Delta(13)C and soil fertility and management practices were assessed from the delta(15)N and N content of grains. The original grain weight was inferred from grain dimensions and grain N content was assessed after correcting N concentration for the effect of carbonisation. Estimated water conditions (i.e. rainfall) during crop growth remained constant for the entire period. However, the grain size and grain yield decreased progressively during the first millennium after the onset of agriculture, regardless of the species, with only a slight recovery afterwards. Minimum delta(15)N values and grain N content were also recorded in the later periods of site occupation. Our results indicate a progressive loss of soil fertility, even when the amount of precipitation remained steady, thereby indicating the unsustainable nature of early agriculture at this site in the Western Mediterranean Basin. In addition, several findings suggest that barley and wheat were cultivated separately, the former being restricted to marginal areas, coinciding with an increased focus on wheat cultivation.
Thesis
Entre 2003 et 2010, dans la région centrale nommée X de la catacombe des Saints Pierre-et-Marcellin à Rome, a été découvert et en partie fouillé un ensemble de sépultures plurielles inédites (Ier-IIIe s. ap. J.-C.) contenant plusieurs centaines d’individus, lesquels ont été inhumés selon des pratiques funéraires singulières à la suite d’un épisode de surmortalité de nature probablement épidémique. Pour appréhender l’histoire de vie (alimentation et mobilité) de ces défunts et rediscuter sur la base d’éléments nouveaux certaines hypothèses préalablement établies, nous avons mené dans le cadre de ce travail une approche archéo-biogéochimique multi-proxy (14C, δ13C, δ15N, δ18O et 87Sr/86Sr) et multi-tissulaire (émail, os, cheveu) sur un échantillon de 130 individus issus de six différentes chambres. Nous avons dans un premier temps vérifié l’intégrité biochimique et isotopique des fractions minérales (phases carbonatées) et organiques (phases collagénique et kératinique) des échantillons à partir d’indicateurs classiques mesurés en routine (%Col, %C, %N, C/N, PCO2 et PCO2/Masse) et par spectroscopie IRTF (IRSF, CO3/PO4 et AmideI/PO4) et par une approche innovante consistant en des datations 14C sur couples collagène-apatite pour valider le signal isotopique des fractions minérales. Nos résultats mettent en évidence des différences extrêmes de préservation de toutes les phases. La trajectoire diagénétique des échantillons n’est toutefois pas aléatoire mais dépendante des conditions environnementales et taphonomiques différant entre les petites et les grandes chambres. En outre, nous avons pu démontrer qu’en dépit de fortes recristallisations et d’échanges isotopiques avec l’environnement sépulcral, les phases carbonatées possèdent un signal isotopique biogénique non altéré. Nous avons dans un second temps reconstruit les régimes alimentaires des individus en nous appuyant sur des référentiels de comparaisons robustes ainsi que divers modèles interprétatifs (mono-proxys versus multi-proxys ; qualitatifs versus quantitatifs), lesquels ont été dans certains cas adaptés au besoin de notre étude. D’une façon générale, nos résultats montrent que l’essentiel des individus a eu accès à un régime alimentaire type fondé sur la triade Céréales C3/Viande C3/Poisson marin. Ce régime alimentaire type n’est toutefois pas exclusif, certains individus (n = 13) ayant consommé de façon occasionnelle d’autres catégories de ressources tels que du poisson dulcicole ou des céréales C4. Nos résultats révèlent que les changements d’alimentation au cours de la vie sont relativement limités. Par ailleurs, cette population se singularise sur un plan strictement alimentaire au regard des autres populations contemporaines romaines pour lesquelles des valeurs isotopiques sont publiées. Nous avons dans un troisième temps étudié les schémas de mobilité des individus en nous fondant sur une approche rigoureuse de nos données et sur des référentiels de comparaison les plus exhaustifs possible ainsi qu’en tenant compte de biais ordinairement éludés (faits culturels, influence du climat et erreurs associées aux équations de conversion). Nos résultats mettent en lumière qu’a minima 23 % (n = 30) des individus étudiés sont migrants. Ces derniers ne se distinguent toutefois pas de par leur alimentation des résidents romains. Nous avons pu montrer en outre que ces migrants ont eu des trajectoires de vie complexes et hétérogènes et que trois schémas de mobilité distincts les caractérisent. Notre population ne se différencie pas en termes de taux de migrants des autres populations romaines pour lesquelles des données isotopiques sont disponibles. Elle se distingue en revanche par son cosmopolitisme avec des origines pour les migrants des plus diverses : Europe, Afrique, Arabie et Asie mineure [...].
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The city of Gabii arose just east of Rome around the 8th century BC. By the Imperial period, it had all but collapsed, its habitation areas either abandoned or repurposed for industrial production. Burials within the city, however, may speak to the urbanization and collapse of Gabii. Twenty-one skeletons from the Imperial era (1st–3rd centuries AD) were analyzed for stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in an effort to understand palaeodiet. Adults' diets are relatively homogeneous, particularly in comparison with samples from nearby sites dating to the same period, and reflect consumption of terrestrial meats and C3 plants. Subadult diets do not reflect breastfeeding at the time of death. One individual with anomalous isotopes may have been an immigrant to Gabii.
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The use of isotopic measurements in archaeological research has increased rapidly over the past ~ 25 years, owing largely to the proliferation of the instruments required to produce these measurements relatively quickly and cheaply. Unfortunately, the understanding of how to adequately calibrate and report these isotopic data has not kept pace. We surveyed nearly 500 archaeological research papers published within the past 25 years that presented original isotopic data. We found that, generally, the majority of studies do not provide adequate information regarding how isotopic measurements were calibrated, nor how analytical uncertainty (precision and accuracy) was assessed. We review and present recommendations for data analysis, calibration, and reporting to aid archaeological researchers who use isotopic measurements and practices. We present a simple method for quantifying standard analytical uncertainty using data that would be provided by most laboratories.
Article
Migration within the Roman Empire occurred at multiple scales and was engaged in both voluntarily and involuntarily. Because of the lengthy tradition of classical studies, bioarchaeological analyses must be fully contextualized within the bounds of history, material culture, and epigraphy. In order to assess migration to Rome within an updated contextual framework, strontium isotope analysis was performed on 105 individuals from two cemeteries associated with Imperial Rome-Casal Bertone and Castellaccio Europarco-and oxygen and carbon isotope analyses were performed on a subset of 55 individuals. Statistical analysis and comparisons with expected local ranges found several outliers who likely immigrated to Rome from elsewhere. Demographics of the immigrants show men and children migrated, and a comparison of carbon isotopes from teeth and bone samples suggests the immigrants may have significantly changed their diet. These data represent the first physical evidence of individual migrants to Imperial Rome. This case study demonstrates the importance of employing bioarchaeology to generate a deeper understanding of a complex ancient urban center.
Article
The island cemetery site of Ostorf (Germany) consists of individual human graves containing Funnel Beaker ceramics dating to the Early or Middle Neolithic. However, previous isotope and radiocarbon analysis demonstrated that the Ostorf individuals had a diet rich in freshwater fish. The present study was undertaken to quantitatively reconstruct the diet of the Ostorf population and establish if dietary habits are consistent with the traditional characterization of a Neolithic diet. Quantitative diet reconstruction was achieved through a novel approach consisting of the use of the Bayesian mixing model Food Reconstruction Using Isotopic Transferred Signals (FRUITS) to model isotope measurements from multiple dietary proxies (δ(13) Ccollagen , δ(15) Ncollagen , δ(13) Cbioapatite , δ(34) Smethione , (14) Ccollagen ). The accuracy of model estimates was verified by comparing the agreement between observed and estimated human dietary radiocarbon reservoir effects. Quantitative diet reconstruction estimates confirm that the Ostorf individuals had a high protein intake due to the consumption of fish and terrestrial animal products. However, FRUITS estimates also show that plant foods represented a significant source of calories. Observed and estimated human dietary radiocarbon reservoir effects are in good agreement provided that the aquatic reservoir effect at Lake Ostorf is taken as reference. The Ostorf population apparently adopted elements associated with a Neolithic culture but adapted to available local food resources and implemented a subsistence strategy that involved a large proportion of fish and terrestrial meat consumption. This case study exemplifies the diversity of subsistence strategies followed during the Neolithic. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Article
Quantitative individual human diet reconstruction using isotopic data and a Bayesian approach typically requires the inclusion of several model parameters, such as individual isotopic data, isotopic and macronutrient composition of food groups, diet-to-tissue isotopic offsets and dietary routing. In an archaeological context, sparse data may hamper a widespread application of such models. However, simpler models may be proposed to address specific archaeological questions. As a consequence of the intake of marine foods, individuals from the first century ad Roman site of Herculaneum showed well-defined bone collagen radiocarbon age offsets from the expected terrestrial value. Taking as reference these radiocarbon offsets and using as model input stable isotope data (δ13C and δ15N), the performance of two Bayesian mixing model instances (routed and concentration-dependent model versus non-routed and concentration-independent) was compared to predict the carbon contribution of marine foods to bone collagen. Predictions generated by both models were in good agreement with observed values. The model with higher complexity showed only a slightly better performance in terms of accuracy and precision. This demonstrates that under similar circumstances, a simple Bayesian approach can be applied to quantify the carbon contribution of marine foods to human bone collagen.
Article
The study of stable isotopes surviving in human bone is fast becoming a standard response in the analysis of cemeteries. Reviewing the state of the art for Roman Britain, the author shows clear indications of a change in diet (for the better) following the Romanisation of Iron Age Britain-including more seafood, and more nutritional variety in the towns. While samples from the bones report an average of diet over the years leading up to an individual's death, carbon and nitrogen isotope signatures taken from the teeth may have a biographical element-capturing those childhood dinners. In this way migrants have been detected - as in the likely presence of Africans in Roman York.While not unexpected, these results show the increasing power of stable isotopes to comment on populations subject to demographic pressures of every kind.
Article
Oxygen isotope compositions were measured in teeth (n = 29) and bones (n = 41) from Egyptian mummies of humans (n = 48) in order to track the δ18O evolution of the Nile from 5500 to 1500 B.P. The combination of δ18O values of apatite carbonate and phosphate was used to filter the database for post mortem alteration of bioapatites, while 87Sr/86Sr ratios were used to detect potential allochthonous people buried in the various archeological sites located along the Nile. This approach led to only five apatite samples out of seventy to be discarded from the database. The remaining oxygen isotope compositions of both tooth and bone phosphates from ancient Egyptians were converted into the composition of ingested water ultimately originating from the Nile. It was found that δ18O of Nile waters increases progressively from −1.6 to +1.5 (‰ VSMOW) from the Predynastic (∼5500 B.P.) through the Late Period (∼2550 B.P.). This trend towards higher Nile δ18O values acquired in more recent times is coherent with a general drying trend in Northeast Africa, which was not limited to a drying spell at the end of the Nabtian Pluvial (ca. 12,000 B.P. –ca. 6000 B.P.), but extended far into the following millennia nearly to the beginning of the Common Era (1950 B.P.)
Article
IsoMAP is a TeraGrid-based web portal aimed at building the infrastructure that brings together distributed multi-scale and multi-format geospatial datasets to enable statistical analysis and modeling of environmental isotopes. A typical workflow enabled by the portal includes (1) data source exploration and selection, (2) statistical analysis and model development; (3) predictive simulation of isotope distributions using models developed in (1) and (2); (4) analysis and interpretation of simulated spatial isotope distributions (e.g., comparison with independent observations, pattern analysis). The gridded models and data products created by one user can be shared and reused among users within the portal, enabling collaboration and knowledge transfer. This infrastructure and the research it fosters can lead to fundamental changes in our knowledge of the water cycle and ecological and biogeochemical processes through analysis of network-based isotope data, but it will be important A) that those with whom the data and models are shared can be sure of the origin, quality, inputs, and processing history of these products, and B) the system is agile and intuitive enough to facilitate this sharing (rather than just `allow' it). IsoMAP researchers are therefore building into the portal's architecture several components meant to increase the amount of metadata about users' products and to repurpose those metadata to make sharing and discovery more intuitive and robust to both expected, professional users as well as unforeseeable populations from other sectors.
Article
During the early medieval period in Ireland, Dublin was established as the largest Viking settlement on the island in the ninth century AD. A previous biodistance study has suggested that the population of the town consisted of a polyethnic amalgam of immigrant and indigenous. In this study, we use biogeochemistry to investigate paleomobility and paleodiet in archaeological human remains from the ninth to eleventh century levels at the sites at Fishamble Street II (National Museum of Ireland excavation number E172), Fishamble Street III (E190) and John’s Lane (E173), as well as twelfth-century remains from Wood Quay (E132). Through radiogenic strontium isotope, stable oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen isotope, and elemental concentration analyses, we investigate the origins of the individuals who lived and died in early and late Viking Dublin. Mean archaeological human enamel and bone isotope values from Dublin are 87Sr/86Sr = 0.70975 ± 0.00139 (2σ, n = 22), δ13Ccarbonate(V-PDB) = −14.8‰ ± 0.8‰ (1σ, n = 12), and δ18Ocarbonate(V-PDB) = −7.2‰ ± 1.0‰ (1σ, n = 12). Archaeological human bone samples exhibit mean δ13Ccollagen(V-PDB) = −20.8‰ ± 0.5‰ (1σ, n = 12) and mean δ15Ncollagen(AIR) = +10.0‰ ± 1.7‰ (1σ, n = 12). Comparing these data with archaeological faunal data from Dublin and published data from northern Europe, we argue that there are no clear immigrants from other parts of the North Atlantic, although there is one clear outlier in both origins and diet. Overall, the relative homogeneity in both paleomobility and paleodiet may support models of acculturation in Viking Dublin, rather than a high number of first-generation immigrants or continued migration from Scandinavia.
Article
The Jura Mountains are considered to be a region where phases of ice cap extension and retreat in response to climatic variation during the Upper Pleniglacial and Lateglacial (ca. 24,000e12,800 cal BP) are well reflected in the vegetation and animal spectrum composition. A new set of direct AMS radiocarbon dates of collagen from reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) bones found at archaeological sites indicated an almost continuous occupation of the Jura region since the end of Last Glacial Maximum, at ca. 24,000 cal BP, until its local disappearance around 14,000 cal BP. To investigate a possible change in reindeer ecology, isotopic analysis of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur in collagen (d13Ccoll, d15Ncoll, d34Scoll) were performed on the dated specimens. A decrease in the d13Ccoll and d15Ncoll values of Jura reindeer was found at the beginning of the Lateglacial period around 16,300e15,600 cal BP. While the change in d13Ccoll values was better explained by a change in diet composition with a decreasing input of lichens, the relative low d15Ncoll values of the reindeer during the Lateglacial was consistent with a geographical pattern of soil maturity inherited from the Last Glacial Maximum. The same pattern was also seen in the d15Ncoll values of the Lateglacial horse (Equus sp.) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) until ca. 14,000 cal BP. The decrease in reindeer d15Ncoll around 16,300e15,600 cal BP and around 21,000e20,000 cal BP in the Jura region may be linked to the occupation of territories recently released by glaciers that formed during the Heinrich event 1 and the Last Glacial Maximum, respectively. The associated high d15Ncoll and d34Scoll values found in two specimens indicate the occurrence of areas of high soil activity in a globally cold context. This might correspond to the occupation of refugia in the close surroundings of the Jura region. Such local refugia could explain the capacity of the reindeer to occupy rapidly the newly available territories during phase of glacier retreat. The intensification of the Magdalenian human settlement could have been favored by these local ecosystem expansions.
Article
The natural and stable isotopes of carbon vary in systematic ways largely determined by the photosynthetic pathway (C3 or C4) which fixes atmospheric CO2 into organic matter. Within both C3 and C4 species there is a genetic component to the variation in this ratio which may be as great as 3‰. A variety of environmental factors also affect this ratio in plants. Individual biochemicals differ from each other in their isotopic values. The ratio in bulk plants is transferred to higher trophic levels with reasonable fidelity; however, the collagen-diet spacing is variable and needs to be understood. An appreciation of these sources of variation is necessary as we quantify our diet interpretations.
Article
This is an isotopic study of collagen and bone apatite samples from individuals buried in the 1st–3rd centuries AD cemetery of Isola Sacra on the Mediterranean coast near Rome, Italy. 13C/12C and 15N/14N ratios of collagen and 13C/12C in carbonate of apatite are used to evaluate the dietary history of people ranging in age from 5 to 45+ years. The collagen data are also compared to a smaller skeletal sample from a nearby inland site (ANAS). Sources in Roman literature describe a typical diet of that period characterized by plant-derived foods; typically cereals, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. While individuals from the ANAS site display isotopic compositions consistent with a terrestrial-based diet, many of the skeletons from Isola Sacra are more enriched in 15N and, to a lesser extent, in 13C. We infer that their diet included a significant component of marine foods. Apatite δ13C values show that total dietary carbon intake was dominated by terrestrial foods. The distribution pattern of the δ13C and δ15N data suggest that, while the Isola Sacra people obtained their nitrogen from a mixture of marine and terrestrial proteins, the carbon atoms used to construct non-essential amino acids were derived from the total diet (i.e., proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids).
Article
We have analysed human and animal collagen samples from three geographically and temporally distinct cemeteries at the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt. All sites display strikingly high average values of δ15N: Kellis 1 (Late Ptolemaic–Early Roman period) 18·0 per mil Kellis 2 (Romano-Christian period) 18·0 per mil, and ‘ein Tirghi (Roman period) 17·0 per mil. Rainfall at Dakhleh is essentially zero. The δ15N values for humans and animals lie on the respective quasi-linear relationship between rainfall and δ15N found by Heaton et al . (1986). Data from Dakhleh and other sites suggest that a single linear trend describes the rainfall-δ15N relationship in a wide range of sites. This correlation is believed to be due to a combination of two effects: excretion of excess15N-depleted urea in order to increase osmolality of urine (Ambrose & DeNiro, 1986 a , b) and15N-enrichment in arid-region plants, as a result of15N-enrichment in soils. Higher δ15N values in human consumers were acquired through consumption of animal-derived protein. High δ15N in desert soils may be caused by volatilization of isotopically light ammonia formed during bacterial activity, an effect which increases near to the soil surface.
Article
Oxygen isotope analysis of archaeological human dental enamel is widely used as a proxy for the drinking water composition (δ(18)O(DW)) of the individual and thus can be used as an indicator of their childhood place of origin. In this paper we demonstrate the robustness of structural carbonate oxygen isotope values (δ(18)O(C)) in bioapatite to preserve the life signal of human tooth enamel by comparing it with phosphate oxygen isotope values (δ(18)O(P)) derived from the same archaeological human tooth enamel samples. δ(18)O(C) analysis was undertaken on 51 archaeological tooth enamel samples previously analysed for δ(18)O(P) values and strontium isotopes. δ(18)O(C) values were determined on a GV IsoPrime dual inlet mass spectrometer, following a series of methodological tests to assess: (1) The reaction time needed to ensure complete release of CO(2) from structural carbonate in the enamel; (2) The effect of an early pre-treatment with dilute acetic acid to remove diagenetic carbonate; (3) Analytical error; (4) Intra-tooth variation; and (5) Diagenetic alteration. This study establishes a direct relationship between δ(18)O(C) and δ(18)O(P) values from human tooth enamel (δ(18)O(P) =  1.0322 × δ(18)O(C) - 9.6849). We have combined this equation with the drinking water equation of Daux et al. (J. Hum. Evol. 2008, 55, 1138) to allow direct calculation of δ(18)O(DW) values from human bioapatite δ(18)O(C) (δ(18)O(DW)  =  1.590 × δ(18)O(C) - 48.634). This is the first comprehensive study of the relationship between the ionic forms of oxygen (phosphate oxygen and structural carbonate) in archaeological human dental enamel. The new equation will allow direct comparison of data produced by the different methods and allow drinking water values to be calculated from structural carbonate data with confidence.
Article
As part of the road widening scheme between London and Dover, Oxford Archaeology South uncovered a large boundary ditch of Iron Age origin that contained Iron Age and Roman inhumations, adjacent to which was a small mid-late Roman cemetery, interpreted as a rural cemetery for Romano-British farmers. Grave goods in the cemetery were restricted to a few individuals with hobnailed boots. Bulk bone collagen isotopic analysis of 11 skeletons of Iron Age and Roman date gave a typical C(3) terrestrial signal (average δ(13) C = -19.8‰, δ(15) N = 9.3‰), but also revealed one (SK12671) with a diet which included a substantial C(4) component (δ(13) C = -15.2‰, δ(15) N = 11.2‰). This is only the second such diet reported in Roman Britain. Subsequent δ(18) O(c) and (87) Sr/(86) Sr measurements on the dental enamel in this individual were, however, consistent with a "local" origin, indicating that either C(4) protein was consumed in Late Roman Britain, or that he came from somewhere else, but where conditions gave rise to similar isotopic values. If we accept the latter, then it indicates that using oxygen and strontium isotopes alone to identify "incomers" may be problematic. The provision of hobnailed boots for the dead appears to have had a strong symbolic element in Late Roman Britain. We suggest that in this case the boots may be significant, in that he was being equipped for the long march home.