Tracing the mobility of a Late Epigravettian (~ 13 ka) male infant from Grotte di Pradis (Northeastern Italian Prealps) at high-temporal resolution

Federico Lugli, Alessia Nava, Rita Sorrentino, Antonino Vazzana, Eugenio Bortolini, Gregorio Oxilia, Sara Silvestrini, Nicola Nannini, Luca Bondioli, Helen Fewlass, Sahra Talamo, Edouard Bard, Lucia Mancini, Wolfgang A. Müller, Matteo Romandini, Stefano Benazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


We present the results of a multi-disciplinary investigation on a deciduous human tooth (Pradis 1), recently recovered from the Epigravettian layers of the Grotte di Pradis archaeological site (Northeastern Italian Prealps). Pradis 1 is an exfoliated deciduous molar (Rdm<jats:sub/>2), lost during life by an 11–12-year-old child. A direct radiocarbon date provided an age of 13,088–12,897 cal BP (95% probability, IntCal20). Amelogenin peptides extracted from tooth enamel and analysed through LC–MS/MS indicate that Pradis 1 likely belonged to a male. Time-resolved <jats:sup/>87Sr/<jats:sup/>86Sr analyses by laser ablation mass spectrometry (LA-MC-ICPMS), combined with dental histology, were able to resolve his movements during the first year of life (i.e. the enamel mineralization interval). Specifically, the Sr isotope ratio of the tooth enamel differs from the local baseline value, suggesting that the child likely spent his first year of life far from Grotte di Pradis. Sr isotopes are also suggestive of a cyclical/seasonal mobility pattern exploited by the Epigravettian human group. The exploitation of Grotte di Pradis on a seasonal, i.e. summer, basis is also indicated by the faunal spectra. Indeed, the nearly 100% occurrence of marmot remains in the entire archaeozoological collection indicates the use of Pradis as a specialized marmot hunting or butchering site. This work represents the first direct assessment of sub-annual movements observed in an Epigravettian hunter-gatherer group from Northern Italy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2022


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