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Exploring sex-based variation in infant feeding practices in Byzantine Greece using stable isotope analysis of dentin serial sections

Author(s): Cynthia Kwok ; Sandra Garvie-Lok ; M. Anne Katzenberg

Year: 2017

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Summary

This paper explores whether sex-based differences in infant feeding practices existed at the early Byzantine Greek site of Nemea (5th-6th c.). Dentin serial sections were obtained from the permanent first molar and first premolar from 31 adults (11 males, 8 females, 12 unidentified) and analyzed for stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes. The isotopic data demonstrated that most individuals were breastfed and fully weaned at a mean age of 2.6 with a range of 1.8 to 3.6 years. Sex-based differences were not observed as boys and girls on average were fully weaned at 2.5 (1.9 to 3.3 years) and 2.4 (1.9 to 3.6 years) years, respectively, contrary to the patriarchal structure of Byzantine society. These results are discussed in the context of Byzantine society through the use of written sources. Compared to traditional analyses using subadult bone collagen, dentin serial sections can capture nuances within infant feeding practices and the value of this latter method is highlighted.


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Exploring sex-based variation in infant feeding practices in Byzantine Greece using stable isotope analysis of dentin serial sections. Cynthia Kwok, Sandra Garvie-Lok, M. Anne Katzenberg. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431819)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15628

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America