Publications by authors named "Klaus Oeggl"

5 Publications

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Hallstatt miners consumed blue cheese and beer during the Iron Age and retained a non-Westernized gut microbiome until the Baroque period.

Curr Biol 2021 Dec 13;31(23):5149-5162.e6. Epub 2021 Oct 13.

Prehistoric Department, Museum of Natural History Vienna, Burgring 7, 1010 Vienna, Austria. Electronic address:

We subjected human paleofeces dating from the Bronze Age to the Baroque period (18 century AD) to in-depth microscopic, metagenomic, and proteomic analyses. The paleofeces were preserved in the underground salt mines of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hallstatt in Austria. This allowed us to reconstruct the diet of the former population and gain insights into their ancient gut microbiome composition. Our dietary survey identified bran and glumes of different cereals as some of the most prevalent plant fragments. This highly fibrous, carbohydrate-rich diet was supplemented with proteins from broad beans and occasionally with fruits, nuts, or animal food products. Due to these traditional dietary habits, all ancient miners up to the Baroque period have gut microbiome structures akin to modern non-Westernized individuals whose diets are also mainly composed of unprocessed foods and fresh fruits and vegetables. This may indicate a shift in the gut community composition of modern Westernized populations due to quite recent dietary and lifestyle changes. When we extended our microbial survey to fungi present in the paleofeces, in one of the Iron Age samples, we observed a high abundance of Penicillium roqueforti and Saccharomyces cerevisiae DNA. Genome-wide analysis indicates that both fungi were involved in food fermentation and provides the first molecular evidence for blue cheese and beer consumption in Iron Age Europe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2021.09.031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8660109PMC
December 2021

Holocene vegetation history and human impact in the eastern Italian Alps: a multi-proxy study on the Coltrondo peat bog, Comelico Superiore, Italy.

Veg Hist Archaeobot 2020 1;29(4):407-426. Epub 2019 Oct 1.

Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, via Torino 155, 30172 Venice-Mestre, Italy.

The present study aims to reconstruct vegetation development, climate changes and human impact using an ombrotrophic peat core from the Coltrondo bog in the eastern Italian Alps. Evidence from pollen, micro-charcoal, major and trace elements, and lead isotopes from this 7,900 years old peat deposit has been combined, and several climatic oscillations and phases of human impact detected. In particular, human presence was recorded in this area of the Alps from about 650 cal bc, with periods of increased activity at the end of the Middle Ages and also at the end of the 19th century, as evidenced by both human-related pollen and the increase in micro-charcoal particles. The enrichment factor of lead (EF) increased since the Roman period and the Middle Ages, suggesting mainly mining activities, whereas the advent of industrialization in the 20th century is marked by the highest EF values in the whole core. The EF data are strongly supported by the Pb/Pb values and these are in general agreement with the historical information available. Therefore, the multi-proxy approach used here has allowed detection of climatic events and human impact patterns in the Comelico area starting from the Iron Age, giving new insights into the palaeoecology as well as the course of the interaction among humans, climate and ecosystems in this part of the eastern Italian Alps.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00334-019-00749-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7319406PMC
October 2019

Seventy-five mosses and liverworts found frozen with the late Neolithic Tyrolean Iceman: Origins, taphonomy and the Iceman's last journey.

PLoS One 2019 30;14(10):e0223752. Epub 2019 Oct 30.

Institut für Botanik, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.

The Iceman site is unique in the bryology of the Quaternary. Only 21 bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) grow now in the immediate vicinity of the 5,300 year old Iceman discovery site at 3,210m above sea level in the Ötztal Alps, Italy. By contrast 75 or more species including at least ten liverworts were recovered as subfossils frozen in, on and around the Iceman from before, at and after his time. About two thirds of the species grow in the nival zone (above 3,000m above sea level) now while about one third do not. A large part of this third can be explained by the Iceman having both deliberately and inadvertently carried bryophytes during his last, fatal journey. Multivariate analyses (PCA, RDA) provide a variety of explanations for the arrivals of the bryophytes in the rocky hollow where the mummy was discovered. This is well into the nival zone of perennial snow and ice with a very sparse, non-woody flora and very low vegetation cover. Apart from the crucial anthropochory (extra-local plants), both hydrochory (local species) and zoochory (by wild game such as ibex of both local and extra-local species) have been important. Anemochory of mainly local species was of lesser importance and of extra-local species probably of little or no importance. The mosses Neckera complanata and several other ecologically similar species as well as a species of Sphagnum (bogmoss) strongly support the claim that the Iceman, took northwards up Schnalstal, South Tyrol, as the route of the last journey. A different species of bogmoss, taken from his colon is another indication the Iceman's presence at low altitude south of Schnalstal during his last hours when he was first high up, low down and finally at over 3,000m.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0223752PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6821077PMC
March 2020

The Iceman's Last Meal Consisted of Fat, Wild Meat, and Cereals.

Curr Biol 2018 07 12;28(14):2348-2355.e9. Epub 2018 Jul 12.

SLING, Life Sciences Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore; Department of Biochemistry, National University of Singapore, Singapore.

The history of humankind is marked by the constant adoption of new dietary habits affecting human physiology, metabolism, and even the development of nutrition-related disorders. Despite clear archaeological evidence for the shift from hunter-gatherer lifestyle to agriculture in Neolithic Europe [1], very little information exists on the daily dietary habits of our ancestors. By undertaking a complementary -omics approach combined with microscopy, we analyzed the stomach content of the Iceman, a 5,300-year-old European glacier mummy [2, 3]. He seems to have had a remarkably high proportion of fat in his diet, supplemented with fresh or dried wild meat, cereals, and traces of toxic bracken. Our multipronged approach provides unprecedented analytical depth, deciphering the nutritional habit, meal composition, and food-processing methods of this Copper Age individual.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.05.067DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6065529PMC
July 2018
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