The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


A comprehensive bioarchaeological analysis of a Copper Age society from Rome, Italy

PAOLA CATALANO1, FLAVIO DE ANGELIS2, ANNA PAOLA ANZIDEI4, MAURO BRILLI3, LOREDANA CARBONI5, ALESSANDRO CIANFANELLI2, STEFANIA DI GIANNANTONIO5, CRISTINA MARTÌNEZ-LABARGA2, GABRIELE SCORRANO2 and OLGA RICKARDS2.

1Anthropology Service, Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma, 2Department of Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata, 3Istituto di Geologia Ambientale e Geoingegneria, CNR, Rome, 4Archaeology, Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma, 5Collaborator of Anthropology Service, Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma

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Recent archaeological surveys performed in Rome (Italy), have brought to light a small necropolis which use is dated to Eneolithic. The Eneolithic is a key transitional period, between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, often identified as the Copper Age. In Italy it is dated from 3600 to 2300 BC, mostly characterized by the increase of agriculture activity. The 14 people buried in the area have been anthropologically analyzed to assess the demographic profile of the community and to identify the morphological and/or pathological conditions. Health status, unspecific stress markers and an overall skeletal strength associated with the presence of marked muscle insertions, have been evaluated according to classical morphological analysis. The finding of two children in a single burial led to perform ancient DNA analysis to investigate the relationships between them. Stable isotope analysis of human remains offers a potential solution to analyze the basic subsistence level, since the isotopic ratios of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) in preserved human bone tissue reflects the isotopic ratios of food consumed during the individual’s lifetime. The results underlined an overall satisfactory health condition that might be ascribed to a not lacking dietary uptake. This trend is supported by regional archaeological evidences for the advent of technological innovations linked to intensive terrestrial plant processing. The results show how the integration of different kind of data is important to outline a complete biological profile of ancient populations.

This study was funded by Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma Grant to P. Catalano and MIUR Prin 2008 allotted to O. Rickards.

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