Publication Year: 2010
This is the most comprehensive and up-to-date book on the topic. Intended for students and professionals, it describes the nature of paleonutrition studies, reviews the history of paleonutrition research, discusses methodological issues in the reconstruction of prehistoric diets, presents theoretical frameworks frequently used in paleonutrition research, and showcases examples in which paleonutritional analyses have been successfully conducted on prehistoric individuals, groups, and populations. It offers an integrative approach to understanding state-of-the-art anthropological dietary, health, and nutritional assessments. The most recent and innovative methods used to reconstruct prehistoric diets are discussed, along with the major ways in which paleonutrition data are recovered, analyzed, and interpreted.
Paleonutrition includes five contemporary case studies that provide useful models of how to conduct paleonutrition research. Topics range from ancient diets in medieval Nubia to children’s health in the prehistoric American Southwest to honey use by an ethnographic group of East African foragers. As well as providing interesting examples of applying paleonutrition techniques, these case studies illustrate the mutually beneficial linkages between ethnography and archaeology.
Published by: University of Arizona Press
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List of Illustrations
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This book was first undertaken more than a decade ago and evolved through what seems to be a common process of fits and starts. In finally completing it, we owe gratitude to the prodding and contributions of many of our colleagues, particularly Dena F. Dincauze, Linda Scott Cummings, Rebecca S. Orfila, and Jerry Schaefer. The work on this book ...
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Paleonutrition is the analysis of human prehistoric diet and the interpretation of dietary intake in relation to health and nutrition. In essence, paleonutrition assesses prehistoric diets to determine the biological and cultural implications for individuals as well as the population as a whole, placing archaeological interpretations into an anthropological ...
2. The Paleonutrition Data Base: Direct Data
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In this chapter, we discuss the kinds of data that relate directly to human paleonutrition, or those data that do not require an inference to be linked to human diet and health (see Sutton 1994). Direct data are relatively uncommon components of archaeological sites and are currently limited to two basic categories: (1) the study of human remains, ...
3. The Paleonutrition Data Base: Indirect Data
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Indirect data are those that cannot be directly and unequivocally attributed to human consumption and so can only be used to infer aspects of human paleonutrition. Such data form the majority of information considered by archaeologists (see Sutton 1994). Categories of indirect data include visible faunal and botanical remains, most ...
4. Issues in the Recovery of Paleonutritional Data
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There is a variety of methods used to recover archaeological mate-rials important for paleonutritional analyses. These methods are dependent on the type of site that is being excavated, the types of matrix and strata from which the remains are recovered, and the kinds of research questions being asked. The most important step in the recovery of such ...
5. Interpretation and Integration
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Many of the archaeological data currently available on past human behavior are related to food acquisition and consumption. These data include ecofacts (e.g., seeds, bones), artifacts (e.g., procurement and processing tools), architectural remains (e.g., storage features), and settlement patterns (e.g., the distribution of food procurement sites across the ...
6. Case Studies
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This chapter presents five case studies on paleonutrition and related issues. Three of these case studies come from North America, including the Great Basin, the American Southwest, and the northern Coachella Valley of California. Two come from Africa, one from east Africa and one from northern Sudan. The topics of these case studies cover a wide range ...
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Index and About the Authors
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Publication Year: 2010