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

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JournalArchaeological and Anthropological Sciences
DateAccepted/In press - 6 Nov 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 29 Nov 2018
DatePublished (current) - 1 Aug 2019
Issue number8
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)3825-3836
Early online date29/11/18
Original languageEnglish


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.

    Research areas

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

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