Shifting diet, shifting culture? A bioarchaeological approach to island dietary development on Iron-Age Öland, Baltic Sea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives
The diet and subsistence in Iron-Age Öland is debated as earlier studies and different archaeological sources seemingly provide conflicting interpretations. The objectives of this study are therefore to: (i) add new insights on diet and (ii) investigate the chronological variation in detail. It is common in studies of diet to investigate differences between datasets defined by archaeological periods (determined by artefact typology), but it is rare to explore whether these dietary changes are, in fact, well correlated with these temporal categories or not.

Materials and methods
Stable isotope analysis of 108 individuals and 25 animals was used to interpret diet in comparison with data from earlier studies. Different values of TLE (Trophic Level Effect) for δ15N were compared for interpretations of diet. Of the 108 individuals, 42 were subjected to 14C analysis in this study.

Results
The isotopes from Iron-Age animals on Öland indicate that the local, contemporary ecology is specific. The human isotope values show chronological development both when pooled in chronological groups by typology and by more specific 14C chronology.

Discussion
The new samples of animals as well as the use of 5‰ TLE for δ15N values results in the diet reinterpreted as mainly domesticate-based, with at least two shifts in diet occurring in the Iron Age. The use of 14C dates in connection with the stable isotope results indicates a dietary transition occurring between 200 BC and AD 200, a date range that spans two typologically determined time periods.

Details

Authors
Organisations
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology

Keywords

  • chronology, paleodiet, δ13C, δ15N, 14C
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-284
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Volume163
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 27
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes