Stable isotope analysis of the Middle Helladic population from two cemeteries at Asine: Barbouna and the East Cemetary
A. Ingvarsson-Sundström, M. P. Richards & S. Voutsaki Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 9.2 (2009): 1-14.
In this paper we report the results of the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses of humans from two Middle Bronze Age cemeteries at Asine, Greece: Barbouna (n=6) and the East Cemetery (n=13). In general, the dietary pattern of adults and juveniles shows a heavy reliance on mainly terrestrial foods; C3 plants and a varying amount of animal protein (meat, milk or dairy products). The high nitrogen values of some individuals from the East cemetery indicate a substantial consumption of animal protein, although the carbon values show that no detectable amounts of marine foods, or C4 plants such as millet had been consumed. High nitrogen values as well as the high slaughter age of domestic animals, as found in previous studies point towards a significant utilization of milk and dairy products at Asine. A low increase of nitrogen values in subadults younger than one years of age from Barbouna compared to females at the East cemetery indicates that these children may have been fed breast milk as well as supplementary foods. Therefore, despite the poor preservation and uneven sample size, the Asine isotopic data give us information on diet during the MH period, as well as variation between the members of the community.