Understanding Final Neolithic communities in south-eastern Poland: New insights on diet and mobility from isotopic data

Anita Szczepanek*, Zdzislaw Belka, Paweł Jarosz, Łukasz Pospieszny, Jolanta Dopieralska, Karin M. Frei, Anna Rauba-Bukowska, Karolina Werens, Jacek Górski, Monika Hozer, Mirosław Mazurek, Piotr Włodarczak

*Corresponding author for this work

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

11 Citations (Scopus)


We present the first comprehensive multi-isotopic data on human and animal remains from the Final Neolithic Corded Ware culture (ca. 2900–2300 cal. BC) in south-eastern Poland. The study focused on communities of two settlement areas located in the Małopolska Upland and in the Subcarpathian region. Carbon and nitrogen isotopes of bone collagen were investigated to obtain insights into human dietary preferences, whereas the strontium isotope composition of human tooth enamel was used to trace the mobility and provenance of individuals. Sr isotope data point to a non-local origin of at least one-quarter of the investigated individuals in the Subcarpathian region, consistent with associated allochthonous grave inventories of eastern or western origins. In contrast, all investigated individuals in the Małopolska Upland were of local origin. Furthermore, our study shows an example that the use of fauna for the assessment of the local 87 Sr/ 86 Sr range of an archaeological site can lead to incorrect conclusions and suggests that a detailed Sr isotopic survey of the geological background and its hydrologic elements is necessary to provide conclusive constraints for the identification of local and non-local individuals in prehistoric communities. Carbon and nitrogen isotope composition of bone collagen indicate an omnivorous diet that included C 3 -based terrestrial plant and animal resources, in which plant food dominated. In both regions, there were no significant sex differences in dietary intakes. Higher δ 15 N coll values of younger infants presumably reflect the effect of weaning.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0207748
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


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