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Title: integrating resources in ancient Jordan : Reconstruction of diet and environment by stable isotope analysis of human and faunal skeletal remains
Author: sandias, Michela
ISNI:       0000 0004 2698 1812
Awarding Body: The University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis explores patterns of human and animal diet in ancient Jordan by carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of bone and dentine collagen. Sampled sites include Pella and Sa'idiyeh in the Jordan Valley, and Gerasa, Yaamun, Yajuz, Sa'ad, and QAIA in the Western Highlands. The samples span from the Late Pottery Neolithic to the Early Islamic period. The development of the human-environment relationship is examined in light of the socio-economic changes that occurred during this interval. For both humans and domestic animals isotope data point to a diet based on C3 plantsderived resources. Yet, in most periods, instances were identified of herbivores consuming higher amounts of aridity -adapted C4 plants, this indicating that use of the resources from semi-arid habitats was one of the pursued strategies, and was possibly achieved through mobility. It is argued that the observed variability in the nitrogen isotope ratios of the herbivores results from the isotopic diversity of plants, this in tum reflecting the environmental heterogeneity of the region. A time related trend was identified at Ya'amiin, where the low-rainfall ecosystems played a greater role in the strategies of food production of the Middle and Late Bronze Age relative to Late Antiquity. During the later periods, at the most eastern sites, food resources from the semi-arid habitats were more important than at the sites in the west. It is suggested that the diversity in the nitrogen isotope values among the mid_7th c. AD inhabitants of Gerasa relative to the smaller Late RomanlByzantine settlements reflects greater socioeconomic heterogeneity and the greater variety of foods on offer in the city markets. As in part expected, collagen preservation proved to be a significant issue. Within the framework of the "Water Life and Civilisation" project, this study shows that carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of bone collagen is able, in combination with archaeological and historical information, to provide a description of past human diet and herding strategies as the results of the interaction between the ecological setting and the economic and cultural choices.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available