Babes, bones, and isotopes: a stable isotope investigation on non-adults from Aventicum, Roman Switzerland (1st-3rd c. CE)

Bourbou, Chryssi; Arenz, Gabriele; Dasen, Véronique; Lösch, Sandra (2019). Babes, bones, and isotopes: a stable isotope investigation on non-adults from Aventicum, Roman Switzerland (1st-3rd c. CE) (In Press). International journal of osteoarchaeology John Wiley & Sons 10.1002/oa.2811

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The study of infant feeding practices in archaeological populations can aid in the understanding of cultural attitudes towards dietary choices and how specific circumstances experienced by mothers and their offspring influence childhood health and survivorship. Breastfeeding and weaning patterns have received increased interest in Roman bioarchaeology, especially through the application of stable isotopic investigation of nitrogen (δ15N) and carbon (δ13C) values. This study presents the stable isotopic results of the first Roman bone sample analyzed from Switzerland (30 non-adults and 9 females), allowing us an unprecedented insight into health and diet at the site of Aventicum/Avenches, the capital city of the territory of Helvetii in Roman times (1st-3rd c. AD). The fact that the majority of the non-adult samples subject to stable isotope analysis were perinates, highlights the complex relationship between their δ15N and δ13C values and those of adult females, as different factors, including variation of fetal and maternal stable isotope values, the possible effects of intrauterine growth, as well as maternal/fetal disease and/or nutritional stress (e.g. nutritional deficiencies such as scurvy, parasitic infections, such as malaria), could have influenced the observed elevated δ15N values.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Arenz, Gabriele and Lösch, Sandra

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
900 History > 930 History of ancient world (to ca. 499)
900 History > 940 History of Europe

ISSN:

1047-482X

Publisher:

John Wiley & Sons

Funders:

[42] Schweizerischer Nationalfonds

Language:

English

Submitter:

Sandra Lösch

Date Deposited:

29 Aug 2019 12:46

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 23:31

Publisher DOI:

10.1002/oa.2811

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.132599

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/132599

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