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Title: Palaeodietary reconstruction in late antique Spain and assessing means of inter-site comparison
Author: Ziriax, Margaret
ISNI:       0000 0004 7234 2368
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Dentine and bone samples from thirty-six individuals from Sanisera and thirty-five individuals from Mérida, as well as dentine and bone samples from twenty-five faunal samples from Sanisera and two from Mérida (all dating from the between the 3rd - 9th centuries AD) were analyzed for stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes. The remains from Sanisera originated from the Late Antique Period (5th - 7th centuries AD) and were taken from tombs containing multiple disarticulated inhumations. The remains from Mérida dated from the Late Roman to Islamic Periods (3rd - 9th centuries AD), were mostly single inhumations with multiple burial styles. The isotopic analysis showed primarily a terrestrially-based C3 diet, which in the case of individuals from Sanisera was occasionally supplemented by marine sources. These isotopic data were compared to human and faunal results from twenty-seven published studies of fifty-three contemporary sites in Europe and North Africa to see how these two Spanish sites fit within the larger Late Antique world using a more analytical comparison. Integration of this multi-site dataset was discussed in terms of the raw data. Direct comparison of isotopic data from different sites suffers from the effects of a number factors extraneous to diet such as climate, time period, and local geography. Previous attempts to minimize these effects have proven insightful, but lack interpretive power in terms of overall dietary reconstruction. Based on the multi-site dataset, an alternative, Faunal Correction, model was proposed. This model adjusts both nitrogen and carbon isotopic values using a faunal standard developed from faunal isotopic data. Not only did this new model have the advantage of relying solely on isotopic data, it successfully reduced overall variability of both carbon and nitrogen isotope data between the sites and, because of its structure, it can easily accommodate additional factors whose impact on isotope values may be better understood in the future.
Supervisor: Schulting, Rick Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available