Diet, status, and mobility in Late Iron Age Switzerland: A bioarchaeological study of human remains based on stable isotope analyses

Hossein Moghaddam Horri, Negahnaz (2016). Diet, status, and mobility in Late Iron Age Switzerland: A bioarchaeological study of human remains based on stable isotope analyses. (Dissertation, Abteilung Anthropologie, Institut für Rechtsmedizin, Medizin)

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Swiss human skeletal series are of great importance for anthropological research on middle and western European populations of the Late Iron Age, also called the La Tène period. The aim of the project is to analyse dietary habits of Late Iron Age population in today’s Switzerland. The focus of the thesis lies on the stable isotope analyses (δ13C, δ15N, and δ34S) from bone collagen of human remains for the analyses of paleodiet, subsistence strategies and migration. The investigation of sex, age, social strata, geographical regions, and time periods provide information on living and environmental conditions, as well as human mobility and origin. The inclusion of different geographical regions such as the Swiss Plateau and the southern Alpine regions allows comparing different ecological areas and different subsistence strategies. Paleopathological alterations are presented and a study of ancient trepanation surgery sheds light on the culture of these prehistoric populations and their understanding of the human body. Dietary analyses indicate that social stratigraphy most likely distinguished between the Early La Tène society of Münsingen and the Middle and Late La Tène populations. As the Late Iron Age is known to have been a period of many warlike activities, the role of leaderships and warriors will be discussed in this context. Furthermore, it is suggested that due to different geological, climatic, and environmental conditions the populations in the Southern Alpine regions had distinct Patterns of crop cultivation and animal husbandry compared to those in the Plateau. Successive agricultural changes might have also derived through cultural exchange between the Celtic and the Mediterranean culture. Mobility of small groups and/or single individuals is indicated by the isotopic data and could have favoured a cultural exchange. The investigation of excavated human remains renders direct scientific information and is the basis of any further research. Methodological progress and scientific analyses provide new information of past populations, which is compared to archaeological evidence and historical sources. This Thesis provides an overview of skeletal remains from many La Tène burial sites in Switzerland, including information of anthropologic-morphological, palaeopathological and biochemical analyses.

Item Type:

Thesis (Dissertation)


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

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Hossein Moghaddam Horri, Negahnaz


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
900 History > 930 History of ancient world (to ca. 499)


[42] Schweizerischer Nationalfonds




Sandra Lösch

Date Deposited:

02 Oct 2019 16:40

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 09:40




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