Stable Isotope and Trace Element Studies on Gladiators and Contemporary Romans from Ephesus (Turkey, 2nd and 3rd Ct. AD) - Implications for Differences in Diet

Lösch, Sandra; Moghaddam, Negahnaz; Grossschmidt, Karl; Risser, Daniele U.; Kanz, Fabian (2014). Stable Isotope and Trace Element Studies on Gladiators and Contemporary Romans from Ephesus (Turkey, 2nd and 3rd Ct. AD) - Implications for Differences in Diet. PLoS ONE, 9(10), e110489. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0110489

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The gladiator cemetery discovered in Ephesus (Turkey) in 1993 dates to the 2nd and 3rd century AD. The aim of this study is to reconstruct diverse diet, social stratification, and migration of the inhabitants of Roman Ephesus and the distinct group of gladiators. Stable carbon, nitrogen, and sulphur isotope analysis were applied, and inorganic bone elements (strontium, calcium) were determined. In total, 53 individuals, including 22 gladiators, were analysed. All individuals consumed C3 plants like wheat and barley as staple food. A few individuals show indication of consumption of C4 plants. The δ13C values of one female from the gladiator cemetery and one gladiator differ from all other individuals. Their δ34S values indicate that they probably migrated from another geographical region or consumed different foods. The δ15N values are relatively low in comparison to other sites from Roman times. A probable cause for the depletion of 15N in Ephesus could be the frequent consumption of legumes. The Sr/Ca-ratios of the gladiators were significantly higher than the values of the contemporary Roman inhabitants. Since the Sr/Ca-ratio reflects the main Ca-supplier in the diet, the elevated values of the gladiators might suggest a frequent use of a plant ash beverage, as mentioned in ancient texts.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

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

UniBE Contributor:

Lösch, Sandra and Hossein Moghaddam Horri, Negahnaz

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Antoinette Angehrn

Date Deposited:

20 Oct 2014 10:16

Last Modified:

11 Sep 2017 13:00

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0110489

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.59391

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/59391

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