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Mobility or migration: a case study from the Neolithic settlement of Nieder-Mörlen (Hessen, Germany)

Nehlich, O.; Montgomery, J.; Evans, J.; Schade-Lindig, S.; Pichler, S.L.; Richards, M.P.; Alt, K.W.


O. Nehlich

J. Evans

S. Schade-Lindig

S.L. Pichler

M.P. Richards

K.W. Alt


A combination of stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of collagen and radiogenic strontium isotope analysis of tooth enamel was used to investigate diet and mobility at the early Neolithic settlement of Nieder-Mörlen in Germany. The carbon and nitrogen ratios suggest a mixed terrestrial based diet that is consistent with data previously published for early Neolithic sites in Europe. The strontium isotope data indicate a high degree of human mobility with only one individual having an isotope ratio consistent with locally derived strontium. Unusually, a group of non-local juveniles with isotope ratios typical of upland regions is also present at the settlement but there are no adult burials with such values. Whilst transhumance is considered as an explanation, it would not explain why these non-local juveniles lived foreshortened lives and other possible mechanisms are therefore discussed.


Nehlich, O., Montgomery, J., Evans, J., Schade-Lindig, S., Pichler, S., Richards, M., & Alt, K. (2009). Mobility or migration: a case study from the Neolithic settlement of Nieder-Mörlen (Hessen, Germany). Journal of Archaeological Science, 36(8), 1791-1799.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 1, 2009
Deposit Date Jul 13, 2011
Journal Journal of Archaeological Science
Print ISSN 0305-4403
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 8
Pages 1791-1799
Keywords Neolithic, Linearbandkeramik, Flomborn, Mobility, Carbon, Nitrogen, Strontium, Strontium isotope analysis, Biologically available Strontium, Bone-collagen, Prehistoric migration, Central-Europe, Tooth enamel, Ratios, SR, Subsistence, Extraction.