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ENGLAND - Prehistory

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Author Topic: ENGLAND - Prehistory  (Read 2793 times)
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« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2009, 08:57:56 pm »

You Are What You Eat

As the maxim "you are what you eat" goes, our bones and bodily tissues are made up of elements taken from the food we consume. As a result, our bones and bodily tissues contain a record of the food we have eaten over the course of our lives.

When we die, our skin usually decomposes, leaving behind bones. By examining the elements in the bones of a person long dead, researchers can determine the main constituents of that individual's diet.

Richards and colleagues looked at the dietary signatures left behind in bones of inland and coastal-dwelling inhabitants of Britain during the Neolithic and the preceding 3,800 years (Mesolithic) to determine what they ate.

Specifically, the team looked at the ratios of stable carbon isotopes. Marine foods and land-based foods have distinct stable carbon isotope signatures, said Richards.

"We determined that after the introduction of domesticates, as well as the other artifacts associated with the Neolithic, the isotope values showed that marine foods were not used anymore," he said. "We then infer that this is a switch from wild foods such as fish and shellfish to the new domesticates that arrive at this time."

While the bone analysis alone does not directly say the shift was from seafood to domesticates, it coincides with their arrival. Richards and colleagues say this suggests that the arrival of the new farming lifestyle must have been very attractive, even to coastal dwellers who had a well-established marine economy in the Mesolithic. 
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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