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‘From the mouths of babes’: a subadult dietary stable isotope perspective on Roman London (Londinium)

Redfern, Rebecca; Gowland, Rebecca; Millard, Andrew; Powell, Lindsay; Gröcke, Darren

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Authors

Rebecca Redfern

Lindsay Powell



Abstract

Londinium (48–410 CE) was the focus for Roman administration and trade in Britain; it was established and inhabited by people from across the Empire who continued to practice their diverse food-ways. Roman London was a unique settlement, whose fluctuating economic and political fortunes throughout Roman occupation are clearly evidenced in the archaeological and historical records. This study conducts stable isotope analysis of the diet of a large sample of subadults (0–20 years old) dating from the 1st to 4th centuries AD in London. It includes an assessment of breastfeeding and weaning practices, but aims to focus more on the diets of older children and the transition to ‘adult’ dietary behaviours. The rib bones of 100 subadults and 20 adults were sampled for carbon and nitrogen isotopes. Using these data, we identified an infant feeding pattern that differed from contemporaneous sites in Italy and which remained unchanged over time, a special diet for nursing females, and temporal changes in diet, whereby subadults consumed greater quantities of freshwater resources compared to adults during periods of economic instability.

Citation

Redfern, R., Gowland, R., Millard, A., Powell, L., & Gröcke, D. (2018). ‘From the mouths of babes’: a subadult dietary stable isotope perspective on Roman London (Londinium). Journal of Archaeological Science, 19, 1030-1040. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.08.015

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 22, 2017
Online Publication Date Sep 1, 2017
Publication Date Jun 1, 2018
Deposit Date Aug 23, 2017
Publicly Available Date Sep 1, 2018
Journal Journal of Archaeological Science
Print ISSN 0305-4403
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Pages 1030-1040
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2017.08.015

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