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Consuming and communicating identities: Dietary diversity and interaction in Middle Neolithic Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Isotope analyses on human and faunal skeletal remains from different Swedish Neolithic archaeological contexts are here applied as a means to reconstruct dietary strategies and mobility patterns. The chronological emphasis is on the Middle Neolithic period, and radiocarbon dating constitutes another central focus. The results reveal a food cultural diversity throughout the period in question, where dietary differences in part correspond to, but also transcend, the traditionally defined archaeological cultures in the Swedish Early to Middle Neolithic. Further, these differences, and the apparent continued utilisation of marine resources in several regions and cultural contexts, can only in part be explained by chronology or availability of resources depending on geographic location. Thus, the sometimes suggested sharp economic shift towards an agricultural way of life at the onset of the Neolithic is refuted. Taking the potential of isotope analyses a step further, aspects of Neolithic social relations and identities are discussed, partly from a food cultural perspective embarking from the obtained results. Relations between people and places, as well as to the past, are discussed. The apparent tenacity in the dietary strategies observed is understood in terms of their rootedness in the practices and social memory of the Neolithic societies in question. Food cultural practices are further argued to have given rise to different notions of identity, some of which can be related to the different archaeological cultures, although these cultures are not to be perceived as bounded entities or the sole basis of self-conceptualisation. Some of these identities have been focused around the dietary strategies of everyday life, whereas others emanate from practices, e.g. of ritualised character, whose dietary importance has been more marginal. Isotope analyses, when combined with other archaeological indices, have the potential to elucidate both these food cultural aspects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University , 2011. , 108 p.
Series
Theses and papers in scientific archaeology, ISSN 1400-7835 ; 12
Keyword [en]
Middle Neolithic, Neolithisation, Sweden, Baltic Sea, Funnel Beaker Culture, Pitted Ware Culture, Battle Axe Culture, megaliths, isotopes, δ13C, δ15N, δ34S, 87Sr/86Sr, radiocarbon dating, palaeodiet, mobility, interaction, identity, ethnicity
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62020ISBN: 978-91-7447-345-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-62020DiVA: diva2:439410
Public defence
2011-10-21, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Submitted. Paper 4: Submitted. Paper 5: In press. Paper 6: Accepted. Available from: 2011-09-29 Created: 2011-09-07 Last updated: 2011-09-14Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Wild at heart: Approaching Pitted Ware identity, economy and cosmology through stable isotopes in skeletal material from the Neolithic site Korsnäs in Eastern Central Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Wild at heart: Approaching Pitted Ware identity, economy and cosmology through stable isotopes in skeletal material from the Neolithic site Korsnäs in Eastern Central Sweden
2008 (English)In: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, ISSN 0278-4165, E-ISSN 1090-2686, Vol. 27, no 3, 281-297 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Middle Neolithic Pitted Ware Culture on the Baltic Sea islands comprised a common identity distinguished, in part, by an almost exclusively marine diet. Based on evidence from the first stable isotope analysis on Pitted Ware skeletal material from the Eastern Central Swedish mainland, we suggest that this identity was shared by PWC groups in the archipelago of the west side of the Baltic. Fifty-six faunal and 26 human bone and dentine samples originating from the Pitted Ware site Korsnäs in Södermanland, Sweden were analysed, and the data clearly shows that the diet of the Korsnäs people was marine, predominantly based on seal. The isotope data further indicate that the pig bones found in large quantities on the site emanate from wild boar rather than domestic pigs. The large representation of pig on several Pitted Ware sites, which cannot be explained in terms of economy, is interpreted as the results of occasional hunting of and ritual feasting on wild boar, indicating that the animal held a prominent position, alongside seal, in the hunting identity and cosmology of the Pitted Ware people. Further, eleven new radiocarbon dates are presented, placing the Korsnäs site, with a large probability, within Middle Neolithic A.

Keyword
archaeology, Pitted Ware Culture, identity, diet, stable isotopes, carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, Sweden, Middle Neolithic
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-16008 (URN)10.1016/j.jaa.2008.03.004 (DOI)000259786500002 ()
Available from: 2008-12-12 Created: 2008-12-12 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
2. Same island, different diet: Cultural evolution of food practice on Öland, Sweden, from the Mesolithic to the Roman Period
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Same island, different diet: Cultural evolution of food practice on Öland, Sweden, from the Mesolithic to the Roman Period
Show others...
2008 (English)In: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, ISSN 0278-4165, E-ISSN 1090-2686, Vol. 27, no 4, 520-543 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Mesolithic–Neolithic transition in north-west Europe has been described as rapid and uniform, entailing a swift shift from the use of marine and other wild resources to domesticated terrestrial resources. Here, we approach the when, what and how of this transition on a regional level, using empirical data from Öland, an island in the Baltic Sea off the Swedish east coast, and also monitor changes that occurred after the shift. Radiocarbon dating and stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses of bones and teeth from 123 human individuals, along with faunal isotope data from 27 species, applying to nine sites on Öland and covering a time span from the Mesolithic to the Roman Period, demonstrate a great diversity in food practices, mainly governed by culture and independent of climatic changes. There was a marked dietary shift during the second half of the third millennium from a mixed marine diet to the use of exclusively terrestrial resources, interpreted as marking the large-scale introduction of farming. Contrary to previous claims, this took place at the end of the Neolithic and not at the onset. Our data also show that culturally induced dietary transitions occurred continuously throughout prehistory. The availability of high-resolution data on various levels, from intra-individual to inter-population, makes stable isotope analysis a powerful tool for studying the evolution of food practices.

Keyword
archaeology, Öland, Sweden, diet, stable isotopes, carbon, nitrogen, radiocarbon dating, Baltic Sea, food culture, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Roman Period
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-16011 (URN)10.1016/j.jaa.2008.08.004 (DOI)000261350900008 ()
Available from: 2008-12-12 Created: 2008-12-12 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
3. Increasing mobility at the Neolithic/Bronze Age transition: sulphur isotope evidence from Öland, Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Increasing mobility at the Neolithic/Bronze Age transition: sulphur isotope evidence from Öland, Sweden
Show others...
(English)In: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, ISSN 0278-4165, E-ISSN 1090-2686Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62017 (URN)
Available from: 2011-09-07 Created: 2011-09-07 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
4. Identifying mobility in populations with mixed marine-terrestrial diets: strontium isotope analysis of skeletal material from a passage grave in Resmo, Öland, Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Identifying mobility in populations with mixed marine-terrestrial diets: strontium isotope analysis of skeletal material from a passage grave in Resmo, Öland, Sweden
(English)In: International journal of osteoarchaeology, ISSN 1047-482X, E-ISSN 1099-1212Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62016 (URN)
Available from: 2011-09-07 Created: 2011-09-07 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
5. A shattered tomb of scattered people: the Alvastra dolmen in light of stable isotopes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A shattered tomb of scattered people: the Alvastra dolmen in light of stable isotopes
2011 (English)In: Current Swedish Archaeology, ISSN 1102-7355, Vol. 19, 113-141 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62019 (URN)
Available from: 2011-09-07 Created: 2011-09-07 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
6. Dietary diversity and moderate mobility: isotope evidence from Scanian Battle Axe Culture burials
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dietary diversity and moderate mobility: isotope evidence from Scanian Battle Axe Culture burials
(English)In: Journal of Nordic Archaeological Science, ISSN 1650-1519Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeological Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62018 (URN)
Available from: 2011-09-07 Created: 2011-09-07 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved

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