Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Eboracum - Jorvik - York : a diachronic study of human diet in york by stable isotope analysis
Author: Muldner, Gundula
ISNI:       0000 0004 2677 7598
Awarding Body: The University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2005
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This thesis investigates continuity and change of human diet in York from the Roman to the Post-Medieval period through the analysis of stable isotope ratios of carbon (813C) and nitrogen (815N ) in the collagen of archaeologicalh uman and animal bones,. The human sample comprises 311 individuals from the Roman cemeteries of Trentholme Drive and Blossom Street, the Anglian site of Belle Vue House, the Earlier and Later Medieval phases of St. Andrew, Fishergate as well as Later and Post- Medieval burials ftom the church of All Saints, Pavement. In addition 145 samples of mammals, fish and birds from the sites of Tanner Row and Fishergate were analysed. The isotope data indicate that the diet in all periods was based predominantly on terrestrial plant and herbivore protein, but with additional minor input from probably several different 15N enriched sources, such as pork, poultry and eggs as well as aquatic (freshwater and marine) protein. In most cases, the complex dietary signals could not be completely resolved by carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis. The results nevertheless suggest dietary variation between all archaeological periods. The most significant change in diet, however, was the addition of significant quantities of marine fish which is evident for the first time in a group of young males from the Earlier Medieval cemetery at Fishergate. In the Later Medieval priory phase of the same site, marine foods were almost universally consumed, although in greatly varying proportions. They still remain prominent in the diet of several of the 18'h century burials from All Saints. The isotopic data-set from York suggest several interesting trends of dietary variation within single populations. Notably, it provides further evidence that marine foods played a prominent role in the diet of the social elite in Roman Britain. For the Later Medieval period, isotope analysis can identify dietary variation between males and females as well as differences between individuals buried in various locations on the grounds of the Fishergate priory. The diets of monastic and high-status lay individuals, however, do not appear to be sufficiently different to be distinguished by isotopic data. in conclusion, this thesis establishes that stable isotope can contribute significant new information to research in the early historic periods. It also demonstrates the vast potential of diachronic investigations for stable isotope applications in archaeology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available