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Archaeodiet in the Greek World: Dietary Reconstruction from Stable Isotope Analysis

Archaeodiet in the Greek World: Dietary Reconstruction from Stable Isotope Analysis (Paperback)

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Synopsis

The analysis of stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen in bone collagen provides a powerful tool for reconstructing past diets, since it provides the only direct evidence of the foods that were actually consumed. The articles that comprise this volume describe the application of the methodology to the archaeology of Greece, a country that has been isotopically studied more extensively than any other place in the world. The archaeological issues that can be addressed using stable isotope methods include the importance of fishing, the possible early introduction of millet, the nature of childrearing including weaning age and weaning foods, temporal shifts in protein consumption, differential access to certain foods associated with social status, as well as gender, age, and cultural differences in dietary patterns. Additionally, diet is strongly correlated with health or stress markers in the teeth and bones. Knowing what people ate has vital implications for our understanding of past environments and economies, subsistence strategies, and nutrition.

Anastasia Papathanasiou is an archaeologist with the Greek Ministry of Culture in the Ephorate of Paleoanthropology and Speleology. Her research interests focus on the areas of bioarchaeology, paleopathology, paleodiet, stables isotope analysis, mortuary practices, and prehistoric archaeology. She conducts physical anthropological and archaeological research in Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in Greece.

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