• Did the First Farmers of Central and Eastern Europe Produce Dairy Foods?

      Craig, O.E.; Chapman, J.; Heron, Carl P.; Willis, Laura H.; Bartosiewicz, L.; Taylor, G.; Whittle, A.; Collins, M. (2005)
      Although the origins of domestic animals have been well-documented, it is unclear when livestock were first exploited for secondary products, such as milk. The analysis of remnant fats preserved in ceramic vessels from two agricultural sites in central and eastern Europe dating to the Early Neolithic (5900-5500 cal BC) are best explained by the presence of milk residues. On this basis, the authors suggest that dairying featured in early European farming economies. The evidence is evaluated in the light of analysis of faunal remains from this region to determine the scale of dairying. It is suggested that dairying ¿ perhaps of sheep or goats ¿ was initially practised on a small scale and was part of a broad mixed economy.
    • Diet and Social Status During the Tène Period in Bohemia - Carbon and Nitrogen Stable Isotope Analysis of Bone Collagen from Kutná Hora-Karlov and Radovesice.

      Le Huray, Jonathan D.; Schutkowski, Holger (2005)
      Bone collagen carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios were obtained from three La Tène period inhumation cemeteries in the Czech Republic (Kutná Hora-Karlov, Radovesice I and Radovesice II) and 16 Hallstatt period inhumations in northern Austria. Results indicate that during the La Tène period in Bohemia, overall diet was based on animal protein and plant foods following the C3 photosynthetic pathway, although ¿13C values for two individuals from Kutná Hora-Karlov indicate at least some contribution from C4 plant foods, most likely millet. At Kutná Hora-Karlov, more positive ¿15N values for male individuals buried with items of iron weaponry indicate the existence of a differential dietary system within the male population based on individual ¿warrior¿ status. A comparison with data from a number of Hallstatt period inhumations in northern Austria and a previously published study of a Hallstatt period site in Slovenia [Murray, M.L., Schoeninger, M.J., 1988. Diet, status, and complex social structure in Iron Age Central Europe: Some contributions from bone chemistry. In: Gibson, D.B., Geselowitz, M.N. (Eds.), Tribe and Polity in Late Prehistoric Europe: Demography, Production and Exchange in the Evolution of Complex Social Systems. Plenum Press, New York, pp. 155¿176] enables an examination of the spread of millet as a major dietary component. This data will be of use to studies of diet in prehistoric Europe and provides evidence for dietary divisions relating to social stratification during the La Tène B¿C, a period often seen as less complex than the preceding Hallstatt period.
    • From Picts to Parish: Stable isotope evidence of dietary change at medieval Portmahomack, Scotland

      Curtis-Summers, Shirley; Pearson, J.A.; Lamb, A.L. (2020-06)
      In this study, period-specific dietary trends, along with socio-economic and religious influences on foods consumed by Pictish and medieval inhabitants from Portmahomack are investigated. Bone collagen from human adults (n = 137) and fauna (n = 71) were analysed for stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios to enable dietary reconstructions of the whole adult skeletal assemblage. Adult mean δ13C and δ15N values from all periods (6th to 17th century) were −19.5‰ ± 1.3‰ and 13.3‰ ± 1.7‰ respectively. A diachronic change in diet between early medieval Pictish lay and monastic communities (periods 1–3) and the later medieval parish layfolk (periods 4–5) was found that suggests changing socio-economic and religious influences, along with age and gender differences in diet that reflect possible divisions in labour and status. Faunal data also reflected a diachronic change in diet, most likely related to a change in animal husbandry practices over time. This is the first large-scale study on the Portmahomack assemblage and presents new isotope data to provide a more comprehensive insight into Pictish and medieval subsistence patterns, along with evidence of how religious and social foci may influence diet over time. Such comprehensive investigations can only be adopted by analysing the whole skeletal assemblage, providing robust faunal baselines and inter- and intra-site comparisons. Most importantly, this significant new evidence fundamentally changes our knowledge of diet and subsistence in medieval Scotland and the potential influences therein.
    • Stable Isotopes of Carbon and Nitrogen and Diet

      Curtis-Summers, Shirley (Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 2016-08)