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Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope variations in tooth dentine serial sections from Wharram Percy.

Fuller, B. T. and Richards, M. P. and Mays, S. (2003) 'Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope variations in tooth dentine serial sections from Wharram Percy.', Journal of archaeological science., 30 (12). pp. 1673-1684.


Here we report δ13C and δ15N measurements of serial sections of human deciduous and permanent tooth dentine from archaeological samples taken from the medieval village site of Wharram Percy, Yorkshire, UK. We found a pattern of enrichment, for both δ13C and δ15N, where the tooth crown was greater than the cervical part of the root, which in turn was greater than the apical portion of the root and the associated rib collagen values. This pattern reflects a decrease in the consumption of isotopically enriched breast milk and the introduction of less enriched weaning foods in the diet. The (mean±SD) difference between the deciduous second molar crowns and corresponding rib samples from the same individuals after 2 years of age was 1.2±0.4‰ for δ13C and 3.2±0.8‰ for δ15N. The δ15N values are as predicted, but as there were no C4plants at Wharram Percy, this 1.2‰ enrichment in δ13C represents clear evidence of a carbon trophic level effect in collagen from breastfeeding infants. Carbon and nitrogen results also show that the infant diet among those who died in infancy did not differ from those who survived into childhood. This study demonstrates the promise of using dentine serial sections to study the temporal relationships of breastfeeding, weaning, and dietary patterns of single individuals.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Weaning, Palaeodiet, Dentine, Stable isotopes, Carbon, Nitrogen, Wharram Percy.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
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Record Created:16 Jul 2009 12:35
Last Modified:12 Aug 2010 16:39

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