Isotopic palaeodiet studies of Ancient Egyptian fauna and humans


Thompson, Alexandra H., Richards, Michael P., Shortland, Andrew and Zakrzewski, Sonia R. (2005) Isotopic palaeodiet studies of Ancient Egyptian fauna and humans. Journal of Archaeological Science, 32, (3), 451-463. (doi:10.1016/j.jas.2004.11.004).

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Description/Abstract

We report here stable carbon and nitrogen isotope results from human and faunal bone collagen from samples taken from sites in the Egyptian Nile Valley and surrounding region, dating from the Predynastic (c. 5500 BC) through to the Dynastic (c. 343 BC) periods. Isotopic values for the human population cluster together across this broad time range, with high δ15N ratios, and δ13C values indicating a largely C3 based diet.

The human data is not easily explained through comparison with our associated faunal data, and so may be explained by the consumption of protein from an ecosystem we did not adequately sample, such as freshwater fish or plants and fauna with unusually high δ15N values due to the extreme aridity of this region. The faunal isotopic data we did produce shows a great range in values between and within species, especially in cattle, and reflects the close proximity of three ecozones across a relatively narrow geographical area; the river, the immediate flood-plain area around the Nile and the desert surroundings.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0305-4403 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: stable isotopes, carbon, nitrogen, egypt
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Humanities > Archaeology
ePrint ID: 28805
Date Deposited: 05 May 2006
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:17
Contact Email Address: srz@soton.ac.uk
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/28805

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