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Patterns of funerary variability, diet, and developmental stress in a Celtic population from NE Italy (3rd-1st c BC)


Laffranchi, Zita; Cavalieri Manasse, Giuliana; Salzani, Luciano; Milella, Marco (2019). Patterns of funerary variability, diet, and developmental stress in a Celtic population from NE Italy (3rd-1st c BC). PLoS ONE, 14(4):e0214372.

Abstract

Little is known about the types of social organization characterizing the pre-Roman Celtic populations of Italy. Here, we explore the funerary variability characterizing the late Iron Age site of Seminario Vescovile (SV: Verona, Italy, 3rd-1st c. BC), and test its possible correlation to diet and relative exposure to developmental stressors. Patterns on funerary treatment (N = 125), δ13C and δ15N (N = 90), and linear enamel hypoplasia (N = 47) from SV are compared, and their possible association with sex and age-at-death further discussed. Results point to the presence at SV of variable funerary customs while at the same time demonstrating a rather homogenous diet and exposure to developmental stressors: funerary treatment is mainly correlated to age-at-death but do not appear to be associated to either isotopic patterns or hypoplasia frequencies. Accordingly, even if some weak social differentiation may have characterized the individuals buried at SV, this was not reflected in markedly differing living conditions. Our study is the first to attempt an exploration of the links between age, sex, funerary variability, and diet in a pre-Roman Celtic community from Italy. While highlighting the potential of a multifaceted approach in bioarcheology, it also points to a series of analytical and theoretical issues relevant when trying to disentangle the cultural and biological dimensions of social differentiation in the past.

Abstract

Little is known about the types of social organization characterizing the pre-Roman Celtic populations of Italy. Here, we explore the funerary variability characterizing the late Iron Age site of Seminario Vescovile (SV: Verona, Italy, 3rd-1st c. BC), and test its possible correlation to diet and relative exposure to developmental stressors. Patterns on funerary treatment (N = 125), δ13C and δ15N (N = 90), and linear enamel hypoplasia (N = 47) from SV are compared, and their possible association with sex and age-at-death further discussed. Results point to the presence at SV of variable funerary customs while at the same time demonstrating a rather homogenous diet and exposure to developmental stressors: funerary treatment is mainly correlated to age-at-death but do not appear to be associated to either isotopic patterns or hypoplasia frequencies. Accordingly, even if some weak social differentiation may have characterized the individuals buried at SV, this was not reflected in markedly differing living conditions. Our study is the first to attempt an exploration of the links between age, sex, funerary variability, and diet in a pre-Roman Celtic community from Italy. While highlighting the potential of a multifaceted approach in bioarcheology, it also points to a series of analytical and theoretical issues relevant when trying to disentangle the cultural and biological dimensions of social differentiation in the past.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Agricultural and Biological Sciences, General Medicine
Language:English
Date:17 April 2019
Deposited On:26 Apr 2019 13:47
Last Modified:15 Apr 2020 23:40
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0214372
PubMed ID:30995254

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