The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Isotopic dietary analysis and molecular sex identification of adults and juveniles from medieval Great Moravia


1Department of Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2Department of Anthropology, National Museum in Prague, Czech Republic

Thursday All day, Plaza Level Add to calendar

Medieval European society, like many complex agricultural societies, was strongly patriarchal, with men favored in terms of property rights, political status, and household authority. However, it is unclear whether male dominance in medieval society was manifested in unequal access to food resources between the sexes. In this pilot study, we examine the pattern of sex-related differences in diet through biomolecular analyses of skeletal remains from the early medieval Great Moravian site of Mikulčice (Czech Republic). Mikulčice was a prominent center of Great Moravia, an early Slavic state that existed in the 9th century AD, and previous bioarchaeological studies of skeletal material from Mikulčice indicate occupational and status differences between the sexes. The pilot study sample comprises 40 individuals, including both adults (n=27) and juveniles (n=13). Here we present dietary reconstructions based on bone collagen carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analyses, and we evaluate a new method of molecular sex identification using high resolution melting analysis of ancient DNA from both juvenile and adult skeletal remains.

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