Publications by authors named "Estelle Herrscher"

8 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Dietary inferences through stable isotope analysis at the Neolithic and Bronze Age in the southern Caucasus (sixth to first millenium BC, Azerbaijan): From environmental adaptation to social impacts.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2018 12 23;167(4):856-875. Epub 2018 Oct 23.

Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, Minist Culture, LAMPEA, Aix-en-Provence, France.

Objectives: Subsistence strategies are of great interest for understanding how prehistoric societies adapted to their environment. This is particularly the case for the southern Caucasus where relationships have been shown with the northern Caucasus and Mesopotamia since the Neolithic and where societies are alternately described as sedentary and mobile. This article aims, for the first time, to characterize human diets and their evolution using biochemical markers, from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age (sixth-first millenium BC), at Mentesh Tepe, a site in the middle Kura valley in Azerbaijan.

Materials And Methods: The data set belongs to 40 humans, 32 domestic and wild animals, and 42 charred seeds discovered in situ and perfectly dated. Stable isotope analyses were performed, including (a) δ C and δ N for animal and human bone collagens and for seeds, and (b) δ C for human bone apatite.

Results: Almost all the data (25/31) suggest an increased contribution of cereals, lentils, and freshwater fish during the Neolithic, whereas afterwards, until the Late Bronze Age, all individuals consumed more animal proteins from their livestock. None of the biological criteria (age at death and sex) and burial types (mass/single graves) were found to be related to a specific diet over time. Comparisons with other isotopic data from contemporary sites in Georgia argue in favor of a wide variety of dietary sources in the vicinity of the Kura valley and for highly mobile populations. Clear evidence of millet consumption has only been found for the Late Bronze Age.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23718DOI Listing
December 2018

"Mind the gap"-Assessing methods for aligning age determination and growth rate in multi-molar sequences of dietary isotopic data.

Am J Hum Biol 2018 09 20;30(5):e23163. Epub 2018 Aug 20.

Aix Marseille University, CNRS, Minist Culture & Com, LAMPEA, Aix-en-Provence, France.

Objectives: Creating multi-tooth sequences of micro-sampled stable isotope (SI) analytical data can help track 20+ years of individual dietary history. Inferences about individual and population level behavioral patterns require cross-calibration of the timing of dietary changes recorded by each tooth. Dentin sections from contemporaneous tissues (eg, in M1 and M2) reflect dietary signature for the time of growth. Contemporary sections should produce similar values, allowing alignment of temporally overlapping portions of teeth into multi-tooth sequences. Published methods for determining the ages of incremental sections do not provide guidance for adjustment when poor alignment between individual tooth sequences is encountered. The primary objective is to address this problem; examine cause(s), assess the effects of the standard growth-model on available age-assessment techniques, and provide a viable solution.

Methods: Investigating difficulty in aligning a 3-molar sequence at Shamanka II, an Early Neolithic (7000-5700 BP) Kitoi hunter-gatherer cemetery in Cis-Baikal, Siberia, we employed 10 age assessment models and 13 variants of 2 published growth rate methods on 3 individuals of different age and sex.

Results: At Shamanka II, dentin initiation and/or growth rates were different from the mostly European, reference populations used to create published age-estimation/growth rate models. Initiation ages for M2 and M3 were delayed. Root formation rates were on the rapid end of known development parameters.

Conclusions: Age-assessment methods customized to dentin initiation ages and growth parameters of Siberian populations produced a hybrid growth rate model for dentin section ages and improved alignment for multi-tooth SI sequences over published models.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23163DOI Listing
September 2018

Copper and zinc isotope ratios in human bone and enamel.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2017 03 17;162(3):491-500. Epub 2016 Nov 17.

Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon, UMR 5276 CNRS, ENS Lyon, Lyon I University, 46, allée d'Italie, Lyon, 69007, France.

Objectives: Here, we report Cu and Zn isotope ratios of bones and teeth of French people from various historical periods with the aim to understand how Cu and Zn isotope ratios of bone, a tissue that is continuously remodeled throughout life but that is prone to post-mortem diagenesis, compare with that of tooth enamel, a tissue that forms once during childhood but that is more resistant to diagenesis. Specifically, we examine (1) the potential existence of sex-related differences in the Cu isotope ratios (represented as δ Cu) in the tooth enamel of identified men and women, and (2) a decrease of Zn isotope delta ratios (represented as δ Zn) related to the increase of meat and fish consumption during the 20 century.

Methods: Four series of material were studied: the archeological population of Saint-Laurent de Grenoble (17 -18 centuries AD), an anatomical collection of skulls (19 century AD), a contemporary anatomical collection of bones never buried, and contemporary teeth samples. The metals were purified by liquid chromatography and their isotopic ratios measured by means of multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.

Results: We describe a clear offset between bone and tooth enamel for Zn isotope ratios, as previously observed in animals. There is a similar offset for Cu isotope ratios. We did not observe any difference between the δ Cu values of men and women when looking at dental enamel. For the contemporary samples, the δ Zn values of bioapatite decreased, which might be explained by the increase of animal product consumption among the French people during this period, notably when the access to seafood became widespread.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrates that the Cu and Zn isotope compositions of dental enamel are promising tools for childhood diet reconstruction. Meanwhile, the Cu isotope ratio of tooth enamel is unlikely to be useful for the identification of biological sex, even in the case of populations with early menarche. Further works are needed to understand the relationships between trophic level and Zn isotope ratios of human remains.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23132DOI Listing
March 2017

Urban and rural infant-feeding practices and health in early medieval Central Europe (9th-10th Century, Czech Republic).

Am J Phys Anthropol 2014 Dec 25;155(4):635-51. Epub 2014 Sep 25.

Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, Ministère de la culture et de la communication, LAMPEA UMR 7269, 13094, Aix-en-Provence, France; Department of Anthropology, National Museum, Václavské náměstí 68, 11579, Praha 1, Czech Republic; Department of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Viničná 7, 12844, Praha 2, Czech Republic.

In the Central European context, the 9th and 10th centuries are well known for rapid cultural and societal changes concerning the development of the economic and political structures of states as well as the adoption of Christianity. A bioarchaeological study based on a subadult skeletal series was conducted to tackle the impact of these changes on infant and young child feeding practices and, consequently, their health in both urban and rural populations. Data on growth and frequency of nonspecific stress indicators of a subadult group aged 0-6 years were analyzed. A subsample of 41 individuals was selected for nitrogen and carbon isotope analyses, applying an intra-individual sampling strategy (bone vs. tooth). The isotopic results attest to a mosaic of food behaviors. In the urban sample, some children may have been weaned during their second year of life, while some others may have still been consuming breast milk substantially up to 4-5 years of age. By contrast, data from the rural sample show more homogeneity, with a gradual cessation of breastfeeding starting after the age of 2 years. Several factors are suggested which may have been responsible for applied weaning strategies. There is no evidence that observed weaning strategies affected the level of biological stress which the urban subadult population had to face compared with the rural subadult population.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22620DOI Listing
December 2014

Lapita diet in remote oceania: new stable isotope evidence from the 3000-year-old Teouma site, Efate Island, Vanuatu.

PLoS One 2014 5;9(3):e90376. Epub 2014 Mar 5.

CNRS, Laboratoire Méditerranéen de Préhistoire Europe Afrique, Aix-Marseille Université, Aix-en-Provence, France.

Remote Oceania was colonized ca. 3000 BP by populations associated with the Lapita Cultural Complex, marking a major event in the prehistoric settlement of the Pacific Islands. Although over 250 Lapita sites have been found throughout the Western Pacific, human remains associated with Lapita period sites are rare. The site of Teouma, on Efate Island, Vanuatu has yielded the largest burial assemblage (n=68 inhumations) of Lapita period humans ever discovered, providing a unique opportunity for assessing human adaptation to the environment in a colonizing population. Stable isotope ratios (δ13C, δ15N, δ34S) of human bone collagen from forty-nine Teouma adults were analyzed against a comprehensive dietary baseline to assess the paleodiet of some of Vanuatu's earliest inhabitants. The isotopic dietary baseline included both modern plants and animals (n=98) and prehistoric fauna from the site (n=71). The human stable isotope data showed that dietary protein at Teouma included a mixture of reef fish and inshore organisms and a variety of higher trophic marine (e.g. marine turtle) and terrestrial animals (e.g. domestic animals and fruit bats). The domestic pigs and chickens at Teouma primarily ate food from a C3 terrestrial environment but their δ15N values indicated that they were eating foods from higher trophic levels than those of plants, such as insects or human fecal matter, suggesting that animal husbandry at the site may have included free range methods. The dietary interpretations for the humans suggest that broad-spectrum foraging and the consumption of domestic animals were the most important methods for procuring dietary protein at the site. Males displayed significantly higher δ15N values compared with females, possibly suggesting dietary differences associated with labor specialization or socio-cultural practices relating to food distribution.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0090376PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3944017PMC
January 2015

Fe and Cu stable isotopes in archeological human bones and their relationship to sex.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2012 Jul 11;148(3):334-40. Epub 2012 May 11.

Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon, CNRS UMR, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon/Université Lyon I, France.

Accurate sex assignment of ancient human remains usually relies on the availability of coxal bones or well-preserved DNA. Iron (Fe) and copper (Cu) stable isotope compositions ((56)Fe/(54)Fe and (65)Cu/(63)Cu, respectively) were recently measured in modern human blood, and an unexpected result was the discovery of a (56)Fe-depletion and a (65)Cu-enrichment in men's blood compared to women's blood. Bones, being pervasively irrigated by blood, are expected to retain the (56)Fe/(54)Fe and (65)Cu/(63)Cu signature of blood, which in turn is useful for determining the sex of ancient bones. Here, we report the (56)Fe/(54)Fe, (65)Cu/(63)Cu, and (66)Zn/(64)Zn ratios from a suite of well-preserved phalanxes (n = 43) belonging to individuals buried in the 17th and 18th centuries at the necropolis of Saint-Laurent de Grenoble, France, and for which the sex was independently estimated from pelvic bone morphology. The metals were purified from the bone matrix by liquid chromatography on ion exchange resin and the isotope compositions were measured by multiple-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The results show that, as expected from literature data on blood, male bone iron is depleted in (56)Fe and enriched in (65)Cu relative to female. No sex difference is found in the (66)Zn/(64)Zn ratios of bone. The concentration and isotopic data show no evidence of soil contamination. Four samples of five (77%) can be assigned their correct sex, a result comparable to sex assignment using Fe and Cu isotopes in blood (81%). Isotopic analysis of metals may therefore represent a valid method of sex assignment applicable to incomplete human remains.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22053DOI Listing
July 2012

Neanderthals versus Modern Humans: Evidence for Resource Competition from Isotopic Modelling.

Int J Evol Biol 2011 15;2011:689315. Epub 2011 Sep 15.

Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Bioculturelle, UMR 6578 CNRS/Université de la Méditerranée/EFS, Faculté de Médecine-Secteur Nord, Université de la Méditerranée, CS80011 Bd Pierre Dramard, 13344 Marseille Cedex 15, France.

During later MOIS3, in Europe two populations were present, autochthonous Neanderthals and modern humans. Ecological competition between these two populations has often been evoked but never demonstrated. Our aim is to establish whether resource competition occurred. In this paper, in order to examine the possibility of ecological competition between these two populations, 599 isotopic data were subjected to rigorous statistical treatment and analysis through mixing models. The aim of this paper was to compare dietary strategies of Neanderthals and modern humans over time. Our conclusions suggest that Neanderthals and modern humans shared dietary habits in the particular environmental context of MOIS3 characterised in Europe by climatic deterioration. In this environmental context, the resource competition between Neanderthals and modern humans may have accelerated the disappearance of the Neanderthal population.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/689315DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3175406PMC
November 2011

Southern French Neolithic populations: Isotopic evidence for regional specificities in environment and diet.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2010 Feb;141(2):259-72

Unité d'Anthropologie Bioculturelle, UMR CNRS-Aix Marseille Université, France.

The Middle Neolithic of the Northwestern Mediterranean area ( approximately 4500-3500 BC cal) is characterized by the development of food production techniques as well as by increasing social complexity. These characteristics could have had an impact on human dietary patterns. To evaluate human dietary practices and lifeways of the Middle Neolithic populations from the South of France, stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis was carried out on 57 human and 53 faunal bones from seven archaeological sites located in the Languedoc and Garonne regions between 20 and 100 km from the Mediterranean Sea, respectively. Results show regional differences in carbon isotope values. Animal and human bones from the Languedoc region are significantly enriched in (13)C relative to the Garonne. Conversely, human and dog bones from the Garonne region are significantly enriched in (15)N compared to human and dog bones from the Languedoc region. These results highlight the importance of the local ecosystem in human and animal diet as well as a regional differentiation of palaeodietary behavior, which probably relates to economic and social factors. The comparison of stable isotope data with archaeological and biological evidence does not show any significant intra- or interpopulation differences. However, the presence of human outliers suggests that migration probably occurred, perhaps in relation to the trade of animals and/or materials. This study also highlights the importance of investigating local animal stable isotope values for the interpretation of human palaeodiet.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.21141DOI Listing
February 2010