Lifeways at the Acme of the South Italian Neolithic: New Chronological and Bioarchaeological Data from Fonteviva, Apulia

Published by Science Direct, October 2020

Eóin W.Parkinson (CRASSH/British School at Rome Fellow 2019 – 2020)
T. Rowan McLaughlin

This paper presents new bioarchaeological and chronological data from Early-Middle Neolithic burials from Apulia, and discusses the wider context of these results in terms of the dynamics of the south-east Italian Neolithic. Two burials from the Neolithic village of Fonteviva on the Apulian Tavoliere were radiocarbon dated in tandem with measurements of dietary stable isotopes (13C, 15N). These results were then compared to all the currently available chronological and isotopic data for the Apulia region. The radiocarbon dates for the two adult individuals from Fonteviva places them at the mid-6th millennium BC. The analysis of comparative radiocarbon data shows that the mid-6th millennium BC was the ‘acme’ – the most developed point – of Neolithic settlement activity on the Apulian Tavoliere, which was in-turn one of the most densely-occupied areas in all of Europe in the Neolithic. The analysis of dietary isotopes showed both individuals from Fonteviva to have had diets based on terrestrial proteins, typical for the Apulian and wider European Neolithic. Slightly enriched nitrogen 15N values in both individuals highlight the potential for underlying dietary variability. This research also demonstrates the importance of revisiting archive collections of human remains with new methodologies and approaches, and similarly taking a renewed look at their wider archaeological context.


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