Dental calculus and isotopes reveal information about ancient diet of Boccone del Povero community (1st-2nd century CE, Latium, central Italy)

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  • Alessia D'Agostino
  • Marica Baldoni
  • Gabriele Di Marco
  • Scorrano, Gabriele
  • Iuri Icaro
  • Mauro Brilli
  • Giuseppina Scano
  • Alessandra Nardi
  • Paola Catalano
  • Michela Rustici
  • Andreina Ricci
  • Olga Rickards
  • Antonella Canini
  • Cristina Martinez-Labarga
  • Angelo Gismondi

Evidence about the dietary habits of the 42 individuals recovered in the necropolis of Boccone del Povero (1st-2nd century CE; Rome, Italy) was obtained by a multidisciplinary approach. Dental calculus analysis (through optical microscopy and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) and stable isotope investigation from bone proteins were carried out on the human skeletal series, with a particular focus on the young female unearthed from the richest burial (no. CLXXXI) of the archaeological site. Overall, carbon and nitrogen stable isotope data indicated an omnivorous diet mainly based on C3-terrestrial proteins, although for some individuals C4 plant consumption cannot be excluded. In fact, evidence from calculus suggests the use of Andropogoneae (e.g., sorghum), Triticeae, together with Rosaceae seeds (e.g., almonds), milk and dairy products. The application of morphological, biochemical, and biomolecular techniques provided a reconstruction of the subsistence pattern of this ancient population living in a suburb of the Imperial Rome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103845
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd

    Research areas

  • Bioarchaeology, Microremains, Nutrition, Pollen, Roman Imperial Age, Stable isotopes, Tartar

ID: 340116049