Exploiting molecular and isotopic signals at the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition

Richard P. Evershed

in Going Over: The Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in North-West Europe

Published by British Academy

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780197264140
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734489 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy 144

Exploiting molecular and isotopic signals at the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition

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The paucity of cultural finds at this key stage in human prehistory increases the need to fully and effectively exploit all the sources of evidence that exist. Organic residues, preserved in association with skeletal remains and pottery, have the potential to provide various levels of information relating to diet and subsistence, and thus the wider interactions of ancient humans with their environment. This chapter explores the potential to enhance the rigour and level of information retrievable from the biochemical constituents of skeletal remains and pottery by exploiting new sources of molecular and isotopic information. It addresses the following possibilities: (i) deriving palaeodietary information from human remains via the complementary use of amino acid and lipid components; and (ii) assessing terrestrial and marine contributions to organic residues preserved in skeletal remains and pottery.

Keywords: organic residues; skeletal remains; pottery; palaeodietary information; amino acid; lipid

Chapter.  9090 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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