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Chronological and dietary aspects of the human burials from Ajdovska Cave, Slovenia

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-740
Number of pages14
JournalRadiocarbon
Volume49
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Abstract

Ajdovska Jama (The Pagans Cave) in southeast Slovenia lies within the catchment of the River Sava, a major tributary of the Danube. The site is well known for its Neolithic burials and has been excavated to a high standard on various occasions since 1884. The human remains at the site occurred as distinct clusters of mainly disarticulated bones belonging to at least 31 individuals. Hitherto, dating of the burials has been based on the associated archaeological finds, including a few low-precision radiometric radiocarbon measurements on charred plant material. In the present study, bones from 15 individuals were subsampled for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) and stable isotope analyses. These comprised adults and children

from 3 of the clusters. The results of the study indicate that the burials all belong to a relatively short time interval, while the stable isotope data indicate a mixed diet based on C3 plant and animal food sources. These interpretations differ somewhat from those of previous researchers. The AMS 14C and stable isotope analyses form part of a wider investigation of dietary and demographic change from the Mesolithic to the Iron Age in the Danube Basin.

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