Analysis of the Palaeolithic diet shows no social divisions in food consumption

phys.org | 4/15/2019 | Staff
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Biochemical analysis of human remains has become a key feature in our understanding of past peoples. Ancient DNA and stable isotope analysis are now considered primary sources of information in the study of the geographic mobility of populations, their genetic affinities, and their diets.

The study of the human diet in Palaeolithic times is currently among the research areas generating the greatest advances in knowledge. Analysis of the Palaeolithic diet is conducted mainly on the basis of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen, which are present in the collagen of human bones. These isotopes indicate the types of food consumed by the individual in the years leading up to their death.

Researchers - University - Granada - UGR - Diets

Researchers from the University of Granada (UGR) have analyzed the diets of past peoples from samples in the anthropological collections of the Megalithic necropolises of Panoría (Darro, Granada) and El Barranquete (Níjar, Almería). They find that although Megalithic communities did vary their eating habits over time, there were no relevant social differences, either in the type of food or in the proportion of proteins consumed.

The author of the study, Gonzalo Aranda Jiménez, of the UGR's Department of Prehistory and Archaeology, explains that homogenous dietary habits, together with ritual and funerary practices in which the emphasis was on community rather than the individual, "show that Megalithic peoples were characterized by social relations that were fundamentally based on values such as equality, reciprocity, and solidarity."

Megalithic - Necropolises - Panoría - El - Barranquete

The Megalithic necropolises of Panoría and El Barranquete are cemeteries characterised by tombs built out of large stone slabs or masonry walls. Inside are burial chambers reached via a corridor or passageway. In the course of their excavations, the UGR researchers have discovered that the tombs are collective burial sites where individuals of both sexes and of all ages were buried.

One of the most striking facts about these sites...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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