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Using stable isotope technique in order to assess the dietary habits of a Roman population in Greece

Dotsika, Elissavet, Michael, Dimitra Ermioni
Journal of archaeological science: Reports 2018 v.22 pp. 470-481
Edessa, adults, archaeology, childhood, collagen, eating habits, freshwater, gender differences, juveniles, protein sources, stable isotopes, Greece
The present isotopic study is the first to assess the dietary habits of a Roman population from Northern Greece. A multi-stable isotope analysis was conducted in 22 individuals deriving from Edessa, a town in Greek Macedonia dated at 2nd–4th c. CE. The basic aims of the present study are to reconstruct the diet of this population, to explore possible dietary variations in relation to sex and age and to detect possible differentiations between the adult and the childhood/juvenile diet. The results of this study revealed that residents of Edessa probably consumed C3 and C4 items as their primary protein source. In addition, the collagen results along with the collagen-apatite spacing possibly indicated a detectable consumption of freshwater sources, for three singular cases. There were no significant isotopic differences between males and females, or between younger and middle aged adults, whereas indications of a possible differentiation among the juvenile and the adult diet were noted. This study offers new information regarding an underrepresented period in Greek history and hopes to encourage the inclusion of multiple isotopic proxies for dietary reconstruction of ancient populations in Greece.