A palaeodietary investigation of a multi-period churchyard in Stavanger, Norway, using stable isotope analysis (C, N, H, S) on bone collagen

L. G. van der Sluis, H. I. Hollund, H. Kars, P. U. Utigard Sandvik, S. D. Denham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Stable isotopes (C, N, H and S) chemically record information in bone about numerous aspects of past human lives, such as diet, residence and migration. Although widely applied, few stable isotope studies have been carried out for palaeodietary research using Norwegian material, and none from the southwest coast. The first animal and human stable isotope values from the Norwegian Stavanger region are presented in this study, revealing changes in dietary habits through a period of cultural, religious and economic changes in Norway, from the 9th century AD to the post-reformation period (17th century/early 18th century AD). 14C-datings of some skeletons that gave ages between AD 800–1150 (calibrated, 2 sigma) raise questions about their origin and the expansion of Christianity. The stable isotope results indicate a high protein diet with a substantial amount of marine input. Across the centuries, changing dietary patterns emerge that are probably related to changes in Christian rituals and people's lifestyle. The intensification of fishing activities that characterises medieval Europe is also visible in the isotopic record of Stavanger. The multi-proxy approach in this study proved useful as the addition of hydrogen stable isotopic data allows for improved interpretation of the palaeodiet, whereas sulphur stable isotope data needs further exploration in order to indicate possible migration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-133
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science Reports
Volume9
Early online date20 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

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