Mediterranean hunter-gatherers relied on marine assets greater than beforehand thought

Mediterranean hunter-gatherers relied on marine assets greater than beforehand thought

Posted on 22 February 2023

New analysis has revealed people dwelling on the Mediterranean coast 9,500 years in the past might have relied extra closely on a fish weight loss program than beforehand thought.

Led by the College of York’s BioArCh Centre, the examine analysed the bones of 11 human people from one of many oldest Mesolithic cemeteries within the Mediterranean, at El Collado, Valencia, Spain.

The analysis revealed that the people, who lived round 9,500 and eight,500 years in the past, had a robust coastal economic system which included a substantial quantity of marine life of their weight loss program, together with brackish fish and shellfish.

The examine, led by Dr Maria Fontanals-Coll, from the College of York’s Division of Archaeology, appeared on the origin of fishing in Mediterranean prehistory. Beforehand, it has been assumed that the Mediterranean Sea, as a consequence of its decrease organic productiveness, was incapable of supporting fishing economies in the course of the Mesolithic interval, much like these in different elements of Europe, such because the Atlantic and Baltic.


Dr Fontanals-Coll, mentioned: “Our findings problem the standard view of Mediterranean prehistoric hunter-gatherers consuming fewer fish than their Atlantic counterparts.

“The proof introduced reveals that the decrease productiveness within the Mediterranean basin didn’t have a serious affect on the harvestable assets that constituted the weight loss program of El Collado people.

“The extent to which people relied on coastal assets previously, is essential to understanding not solely long-term social and financial growth, but in addition to assessing human well being and the affect that people had on the setting.

“These findings have implications for understanding how farming, which swept by way of the Mediterranean within the following Neolithic interval, took maintain.”

Fashionable populations

Professor Oliver Craig, Director of BioArCh on the College of York, mentioned: “This examine is a part of a brand new wave of isotopic analyses performed on single compounds which might be difficult and altering our understanding of historical human weight loss program, permitting us to match with fashionable populations, the place the dietary and well being implications are already effectively explored.”

The examine was funded by the European challenge Marie Skłodowska-Curie NEOMEDIS, in collaboration with the Spanish Nationwide Analysis Council (CSIC), the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Sapienza College of Rome.

Human societies

André Colonese, researcher from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, mentioned: “This examine provides to the rising consensus that coastal areas have been essential to human societies since prehistoric occasions. The foundations of coastal fisheries within the Mediterranean may be traced again to those early fishers, and the outcomes of this paper strongly assist such an argument”.

The brand new analysis makes use of high-resolution biomolecular strategies, like compound-specific isotope evaluation of particular person collagen amino acids (CSIA-AA), which permits better accuracy in discriminating between land animals and marine life, essential when assessing the diploma of dietary change related to the introduction of domesticated vegetation and animals in farming.

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