24th EAA 2018, Barcelona

Last 5-8 September 2018, the PhD student Raquel Hernando from IPHES presented some of the results obtained as part of the collaboration with ANCIENT_TEETH project in the  24th EAA Congress held in Barcelona.


Here there is the abstract of the paper we presented:


Hernando, Raquel (IPHES. Institut Catala de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolucio Social; Area de Prehistoria, Universitat Rovira i Virgili – URV); Gamarra, Beatriz (School of Archaeology and Earth Institute, University College Dublin); Lozano, Marina (IPHES. Institut Catala de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolucio Social; Area de Prehistoria, Universitat Rovira i Virgili – URV); Tutkovics, Eszter K. (Retkozi Museum) – Kalli, Andras (Budavari Ingatlanfejlesztő es Uzemeltető Nonprofit Ltd., Regeszeti zolgaltatasi Főosztaly); Kohler, Kitti (Research Centre for the Humanities, Institute of Archaeology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Szeniczey, Támas – Hajdu, Támas (Department of Biological Anthropology, Institute of Biology, Faculty of Science, Eotvos Lorand University); Feeney, Robin N. M. (School of Medicine, University College Dublin); Pinhasi, Ron (Department of Anthropology, University of Vienna)

Dietary reconstruction of ancient human populations allows us to infer subsistence strategies including their cultural and technological aspects. The two most widely used techniques to analyze dietary patterns and subsistence strategies of ancient people are dental microwear and stable isotope analyses.

Dental microwear has shown to be successful when describing the physical properties of the food ingested by individuals, such as hardness and abrasiveness, allowing to infer the dietary preferences and how food was processed before consumption. Correspondingly, 13C and 14N isotopic analyses from bone samples are indicative of the average diet over a period of time prior to the death of the individual, which is useful for discerning among the consumption of foods from different origins.

A sample of 29 permanent molars and 37 bone collagen samples of human remains from the Middle Neolithic Bükkábrány – Banya site (Hungary) was used to develop a multidisciplinary approach that combines both techniques. Given that isotopic data from collagen are rarely combined with dental microwear patterns, we present for the first time the results of both approaches applied in Hungarian archaeological populations. Our aim here is to have a comprehensive reconstruction not only of the diet of the studied population, but also of the socioeconomic organization of these ancient populations. Moreover, we intend to evaluate if combining both approaches offer more precision to understanding these past populations.

The results we obtained indicate that both methods are complementary as the results obtained suggest the same dietary patterns when comparing the same individuals. While stable isotopes indicate the amount of protein intake by every group, and the consumption of C3 terrestrial resources, microwear patterns additionally explains the properties of these foods consumed. The next step in this research is to know why there were differences between the settlements compared.

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