Long-term dietary change in Atlantic and Mediterranean Iberia with the introduction of agriculture: a stable isotope perspective

Miriam Cubas*, Rita Peyroteo-Stjerna, Maria Fontanals-Coll, Laura Llorente-Rodríguez, Alexandre Lucquin, Oliver Edward Craig, André Carlo Colonese

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Neolithic expansion in the Iberian Peninsula is marked by the introduction of livestock and domesticated crops which modified subsistence strategies in an unprecedented manner. Bulk collagen stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis has been essential to track these changes, which have largely been discussed in relation to particular geographic areas or single case studies. This paper reviews the available isotope literature to provide a regional, long-term synthesis of dietary changes associated with the expansion of the Neolithic and the establishment of farming economy in the Iberian Peninsula. Bulk collagen stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values of 763 human individuals and 283 faunal remains from the Mesolithic to the Late Neolithic period in Iberia (ca. 8000–3000 cal BC) were collated and analysed using a Bayesian mixing model. The results show that Mesolithic diets were isotopically diverse in both the Atlantic and Mediterranean regions of the Iberian Peninsula, and that a significant decrease in variability happened with the Neolithisation, culminating with the establishment of farming economies and reliance on terrestrial resources in the Late Neolithic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3825-3836
Number of pages12
JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
Issue number8
Early online date29 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • Bulk collagen
  • Iberian Peninsula
  • Neolithic
  • Palaeodietary reconstructions
  • Stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes

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