Fish and resilience among Early Holocene foragers of southern Scandinavia: A fusion of stable isotopes and zooarchaeology through Bayesian mixing modelling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study highlights the importance of different protein sources in the diet of Early and Middle Mesolithic humans in southern Scandinavia, and illustrates variation and change in protein consumption patterns during the Early Holocene. By combining previously published stable isotope data with new analyses of human and animal bone remains, a Bayesian mixing model was used to reveal that fishing was more important than previously anticipated in the foraging economy. Incorporating the zooarchaeological record as a prior to guide the Bayesian model enabled further study of Early Holocene foraging in the region. Although primarily a study of human diet, because the results indicate that aquatic systems were more important than previously acknowledged, it is possible to discuss the implications for understanding Early Holocene subsistence strategies and mobility. Furthermore, by incorporating both zooarchaeological data and human stable isotope analysis, the methodology can advance palaeodietary studies, by generating dietary protein estimations that can be used to investigate subsistence strategies across a diverse set of human societies.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology


  • Bayesian mixing models, Early holocene subsistence, Forager palaeodiet, Mesolithic, Scandinavia, Stable isotopes, Zooarchaeology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-210
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch

Related research output

Adam Boethius, 2018 Mar 16, Lund: Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Lund University. 370 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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