Skip to main content

Diet and disease in Tomar, Portugal: comparing stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios between skeletons with and without signs of infectious disease

Curto, Ana, Mahoney, Patrick, Maurer, Anne-France, Dias, Cristina Barrocas, Fernandes, Teresa, Fahy, Geraldine (2019) Diet and disease in Tomar, Portugal: comparing stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios between skeletons with and without signs of infectious disease. Journal of Archaeological Science, 105 . pp. 56-69. ISSN 0305-4403. E-ISSN 1095-9238. (doi:10.1016/j.jas.2019.03.005) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

PDF - Author's Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 1 April 2020.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Contact us about this Publication Download (338kB)
[img]
MS Office Open XML (OOXML) - Author's Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only
Contact us about this Publication Download (66kB)
[img]
Official URL
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2019.03.005

Abstract

Objectives: This study explored the correspondence between stable isotope ratios and indicators of non-specific (periostitis and/or osteomyelitis) and specific (venereal syphilis) disease in a sample of human skeletons from a Portuguese archaeological collection. Additionally, this study examined stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotope ratios between individuals at different disease stages.

Materials and Methods: δ13C and δ15N data from previously analysed skeletons without signs of infectious disease or physiological stress (n=32) were compared to new data from skeletons with active (n=6), healed (n=7) or a combination of both lesions (n=10). Skeletons with lesions (n=23) were also grouped as having only healed tibial periostitis (n=7), generalised non-specific (n=5) and generalised specific infections (n=2). The skeletons with lesions that did not fit into these groups (n=9) were not used in this analysis.

Results: The δ15N from skeletons with non-specific generalised infections in several bones differed significantly when compared to skeletons that had either only healed tibial periostitis or were without lesions. Skeletons with venereal syphilis had similar mean δ13C and δ15N to either skeletons without signs of disease or those with only healed tibial periostitis.

Discussion: These results suggest different diets may be linked into an individual’s susceptibility to these pathogens. Diet influences resistance to infectious disease, while infections decrease nutrient availability, increase malabsorption and resting energy expenditure. Potentially therefore, combining isotopic evidence

of diet with pathology may contribute to a new understanding of health and lifestyle in the past.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.jas.2019.03.005
Uncontrolled keywords: Paleodiet, Paleopathology, Periostitis, Infectious disease
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biological Anthropology
Depositing User: Patrick Mahoney
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2019 08:43 UTC
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2019 15:09 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/72957 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Fahy, Geraldine: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1281-1260
  • Depositors only (login required):

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year