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The Mesolithic–Neolithic transition in the Iron Gates, Southeast Europe: Calibration and dietary issues

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    Rights statement: © Cook, G. T., Bonsall, C., Pickard, C., McSweeney, K., Bartosiewicz, L., & Boroneanț, A. (2009). The Mesolithic–Neolithic Transition in the Iron Gates, Southeast Europe: calibration and dietary issues. In P. Crombé, M. Van Strydonck, J. Sergant, M. Boudin, & M. Bats (Eds.), Chronology and Evolution within the Mesolithic of North-West Europe. (pp. 497-515). 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
Pages497-515
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781443814218
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Abstract

This paper discusses an aquatic reservoir effect present in Mesolithic human bone samples from the Iron Gates section of the River Danube. Its magnitude has been calculated from a comparison of the 14C ages of human bones and terrestrial mammal bones from Schela Cladovei, equivalent to 545±70 years for a 100% aquatic diet. From this, using the δ15N value of human bone collagen to estimate the proportion of aquatic food in diet, a correction factor can be applied to the human bone 14C ages. Reservoir correction makes the resultant 14C age less precise but more accurate. The reservoir effect is derived from the inclusion of aquatic resources from the River Danube in the diets of the Mesolithic inhabitants. On the basis that the Black Sea became marine around 7400 cal BC, the possibility that part of the reservoir effect derives from anadromous fish species cannot be discounted. Human remains are abundant in the Iron Gates sites and therefore potentially important for construction of archaeological chronologies. Our ability to correct for the aquatic reservoir affect has important implications for establishing accurate chronologies, especially at the Mesolithic–Neolithic transition, which was marked by a significant change in diet and subsistence.

    Research areas

  • Iron Gates, Mesolithic, Neolithic, transition, calibration, palaeodiet, Southeast Europe

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