First insight into the Neolithic subsistence economy in the north‐east Iberian Peninsula. Paleodietary reconstruction through stable isotopes.

Maria Fontanals-Coll, Eulàlia Subirà, Marta Díaz-Zorita Bonilla, Juan Francisco Gibaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives:The study of subsistence strategies among Neolithic communities in north-east Iberia, late-fifth to early-fourth millennia cal BC, enables a more in-depth study of the activities and behavior of the inhabitants of this region, where paleodiets have been little studied. The objectivesof this study are, therefore, to determine the diet and subsistence patterns of those communities and to consider whether any relation existed between their subsistence strategies and environ-mental, geographic, and/or social factors.Materials and Methods:Bone samples from 25 middle Neolithic human individuals at seven archeological sites and comparative faunal samples were analyzed, and compared with contemporary series in Mediterranean Europe. Carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios (d13C and d15N) of bone collagen were studied to determine the dietary patterns.Results:Dietary habits proved to be similar between communities, apart from some interpopulational variations in subsistence strategies. Their diet was based on C3terrestrial resources with a major vegetal protein component.Discussion:The reported variations in interpopulational subsistence strategies among the com-pared Mediterranean societies do not seem to be directly related to the settlement region.Together with archeological data, this indicates the influence of socioeconomic factors in the Neo-lithic human diet. A general tendency toward a lesser use of aquatic resources is seen in this period in Iberia and the rest of the Mediterranean, as also documented for contemporary communities in the west and north of Europe. The data obtained will be important for further studies of socioeconomic patterns in European Neolithic societies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-50
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Early online date26 Aug 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Aug 2016


  • Middle Neolithic
  • Paleodiet
  • Stable isotopes
  • North-east Iberian Peninsula

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