Deviance in youth: Anomalous nitrogen and carbon isotopic values among individual subadults at Medieval Alytus, Lithuania


Rapid turnover of bone collagen δ13C and δ15N values in subadults can reveal dietary and physiological changes experienced by illuminating chronic stress not apparent as skeletal, pathological lesions. To assess subadult morbidity and mortality in Medieval Alytus, Lithuania, an osteobiographical examination was undertaken of individuals who presented humeral isotopic values ± 2σ from sample and cohort means (-20.02 ± 0.43‰; 11.09 ± 1.21‰). Four infants (0.1-2.9 years) and four juveniles (5-11.9 years) were found to exhibit isotopic values outside of the expected sample mean. Two individuals, 1.5 year-old (-18.8‰, 14.28‰) and 11.5 year-old (-19.46‰, 13.26‰), were ± 2σ from their respective δ13C and δ15N cohort averages (Infant: -19.70 ± 0.40‰; 12.51 ± 0.80‰; Juvenile: -20.26 ± 0.38‰; 10.24 ± 0.88‰). Skeletal analyses do not indicate specific disease processes but all infants exhibit at least one non-specific skeletal marker of chronic, metabolic stress (e.g. periostitis, porotic hyperostosis), likely caused by prolonged weaning resulting in malnourishment. Three of the four juveniles did not present skeletal stressors, indicative of death from an acute disease process during a growth spurt and potentially the onset of puberty. This study contributes to growing literature on metabolic variation in isotopic values and paleopathology of Lithuania.

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Deviance in youth: Anomalous nitrogen and carbon isotopic values among individual subadults at Medieval Alytus, Lithuania. Katherine Page, Tosha Dupras, Rimantas Jankauskas, Lana Williams, Courtney Eleazer. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397624)

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min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;