This thesis reports an investigation of Iron Age diet in Britain using carbon and
nitrogen stable isotope data obtained from skeletal material from four locations
across England and southern Scotland. Both human and animal bone Collagen
has been analysed from Wetwang in East Yorkshire and other sites in East
Lothian, Hampshire and Cornwall. Animal bone from Dorset has also been
The aims of the study were to characterize British Iron Age diet in general
isotopic terms and also to provide a contextual base for future analysis which
allows an understanding of both inter- and intra-site variation in such data for
this and other periods. The comparisons across the locations allowed
consideration of geographical variability within England and southern Scotland
and included material from coastal sites (Cornwall and East Lothian), from sites
with easy access to rivers and estuaries (Hampshire) and an inland site where
access to water would have been more difficult (Wetwang).
All human groups were consuming high levels of animal protein and there was
very little evidence for the consumption of aquatic resources. There was
significant variation in 815N values between the locations, which was reflected
both in the humans and the herbivores, such that it is likely to be related to
environmental rather than to dietary differences. Intra-site group comparisons
at Wetwang showed very little variation within the cemetery population
IM according to age, sex, subjective status category or site phase. The data were
very consistent within the populations, although those for Hampshire displayed
more variation in nitrogen.
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