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Different in death: Different in life? Diet and mobility correlates of irregular burials in a Roman necropolis from Bologna (Northern Italy, 1st–4th century CE)


Milella, Marco; Gerling, Claudia; Doppler, Thomas; Kuhn, Thomas; Cooper, Matthew; Mariotti, Valentina; Belcastro, Maria Giovanna; Ponce de León, Marcia S; Zollikofer, Christoph P E (2019). Different in death: Different in life? Diet and mobility correlates of irregular burials in a Roman necropolis from Bologna (Northern Italy, 1st–4th century CE). Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 27:101926.

Abstract

The study of migration within the Roman Empire has been a focus of the bioarchaeological and biogeochemical research during the last decade. The possible association of diet and sex, age, and funerary treatment during the 1st-4th centuries CE have been extensively explored in Britain, and Central-Southern Italy. Conversely, no knowledge is available about these processes for the North of the Italian Peninsula. In the present work we analyse a set (N = 16) of Roman inhumations from Bologna (Northern Italy, 1st-4th century CE), some of which are characterized by unusual features (prone depositions, transfixion of the skeleton by iron nails). Analysis of strontium, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon isotopes is used to test for the possible correlation between funerary treatment, geographic origin, and diet. Here we provide the first biogeochemical data for a Northern Italian Imperial sample, wherein our results show no clear association between these variables, suggesting that funerary variability, at least in the analysed context, was shaped by a variety of heterogeneous factors, and not a representation of vertical social differences or differential geographic origins.

Abstract

The study of migration within the Roman Empire has been a focus of the bioarchaeological and biogeochemical research during the last decade. The possible association of diet and sex, age, and funerary treatment during the 1st-4th centuries CE have been extensively explored in Britain, and Central-Southern Italy. Conversely, no knowledge is available about these processes for the North of the Italian Peninsula. In the present work we analyse a set (N = 16) of Roman inhumations from Bologna (Northern Italy, 1st-4th century CE), some of which are characterized by unusual features (prone depositions, transfixion of the skeleton by iron nails). Analysis of strontium, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon isotopes is used to test for the possible correlation between funerary treatment, geographic origin, and diet. Here we provide the first biogeochemical data for a Northern Italian Imperial sample, wherein our results show no clear association between these variables, suggesting that funerary variability, at least in the analysed context, was shaped by a variety of heterogeneous factors, and not a representation of vertical social differences or differential geographic origins.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Anthropology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:1 October 2019
Deposited On:07 Feb 2020 16:05
Last Modified:05 Mar 2020 16:29
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:2352-409X
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.101926

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