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Title: Land and sea : understanding diet and economies through time in the North Atlantic Islands
Author: Jones, Jennifer Rose
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores changes in dietary and economic behaviour through time in the North Atlantic Islands of Scotland, from the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition through to the Norse period. Traditional zooarchaeological techniques are used alongside human and faunal stable isotope analysis to explore past diet of humans and animals. The challenges of integrating these two different datasets and methodologies for enhancing interpretations of these lines of evidence are explored. A suite of faunal isotopic values though time were generated to characterise animal diets, past husbandry strategies, to provide a baseline to interpret human values, and to understand temporal and geographical variations in isotopic values. Faunal isotopic values indicate that shore front resources were used by past populations, and highlight temporal and geographical differences in management practices and foddering strategies. Results demonstrated that marine species were not a major aspect of diet in the Neolithic, supporting Schulting and Richards (2002a). In the Bronze Age there is an increase in the quantity of fish bones present within the faunal assemblages in the Western Isles, however they were not being consumed in sufficient quantities to affect the human bone collagen isotopic values. During the Iron Age there is a further increase in the quantity of fish bones present in assemblages in the Western Isles, and evidence of fish consumption in human and pigs. In contrast evidence of marine food consumption in Iron Age Orkney is minimal, indicating divergent dietary and economic practices in place between these regions. During the Norse period fish bones account for high proportions of the zooarchaeological assemblages in both Orkney and the Western Isles, with different species being exploited. Finally comparisons are drawn with island and inland sites in Britain and Europe, exploring how far these dietary and economic practices observed are influenced by localised environmental conditions, and wider social factors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: CC Archaeology