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Dietary trends at the Mesolithic–Neolithic transition in North-west Europe

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    Rights statement: © Bonsall, C., Cook, G. T., Pickard, C., McSweeney, K., & Bartosiewicz, L. (2009). Dietary trends at the Mesolithic–Neolithic transition in North-west Europe. In P. Crombé, M. Van Strydonck, J. Sergant, M. Boudin, & M. Bats (Eds.), Chronology and Evolution within the Mesolithic of North-West Europe. (pp. 539-562). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChronology and Evolution within the Mesolithic of North-West Europe
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of an International Meeting, Brussels, May 30th-June 1st 2007
EditorsPhilippe Crombé, Mark Van Strydonck, Joris Sergant, Mathieu Boudin, Machteld Bats
Place of PublicationNewcastle upon Tyne
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9781443814218
Publication statusPublished - 2009


Empirical and model data are used to re-assess the patterns of dietary change across the Mesolithic–Neolithic transition in north-west Europe. A step-shift in bone collagen δ13C values can be observed among coastal populations in Great Britain and parts of southern Scandinavia c. 4000/3900 cal BC, reflecting the rapid introduction of farming. Regional and local variations are evident, and there is a clear geographical trend in the use of marine resources by Neolithic populations across north-west Europe. Our findings suggest that the δ13C value of bone collagen may not accurately reflect the proportion of seafood in a diet where the diet included significant quantities of marine bivalves, such as oysters. This also has implications for calculating the marine reservoir contribution to the 14C ages of human bones.

    Research areas

  • palaeodiet, dstable isotopes, Mesolithic, Neolithic, north-west Europe

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