The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #163442 Message #4008261
Posted By: Stilly River Sage
10-Sep-19 - 03:11 PM
Thread Name: Armchair Archaeologist (via Google Earth)
Subject: RE: Armchair Archaeologist (via Google Earth)
Bones of Roman Britons provide new clues to dietary deprivation
Researchers at the University of Bradford have shown a link between the diet of Roman Britons and their mortality rates for the first time, overturning a previously-held belief about the quality of the Roman diet.
Using a new method of analysis, the researchers examined stable isotope data (the ratios of particular chemicals in human tissue) from the bone collagen of hundreds of Roman Britons, together with the individuals' age-of-death estimates and an established mortality model.
The data sample included over 650 individuals from various published archaeological sites throughout England.
The researchers—from institutions including the Museum of London, Durham University and the University of South Carolina—found that higher nitrogen isotope ratios in the bones were associated with a higher risk of mortality, while higher carbon isotope ratios were associated with a lower risk of mortality.
Romano-British urban archaeological populations are characterised by higher nitrogen isotope ratios, which have been thought previously to indicate a better, or high-status, diet. But taking carbon isotope ratios, as well as death rates, into account showed that the nitrogen could also be recording long-term nutritional stress, such as deprivation or starvation.
Differences in sex were also identified by the researchers, with the data showing that men typically had higher ratios of both isotopes, indicating a generally higher status diet compared to women. (The rest is at the link)