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Variations in Diet and Stature: Are They Linked? Bioarchaeology and Paleodietary Bayesian Mixing Models from Linkoping, Sweden

Arcini, Caroline; Ahlström, Torbjörn LU and Tagesson, Goran (2014) In International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 24(4). p.543-556
Abstract
From the early 19th century to the late 20th century, the mean stature of Swedish conscripts increased from 167 to 177 cm. Based on osteological data, estimated statures of medieval skeletal populations indicate that mean stature of males had decreased from an average 173 cm during the medieval period, to 165 cm at the mid 19th century. This change with respect to stature could possibly be linked to the change in diet. Based on the skeletal material unearthed from Linkoping, Sweden, we explored the possible association between a changing diet and a decreasing stature. We compared the medieval sample (1100-1300 AD) to a sample dated 1780-1810 AD. A significant multiple regression analysis demonstrates that both sex and chronology explain... (More)
From the early 19th century to the late 20th century, the mean stature of Swedish conscripts increased from 167 to 177 cm. Based on osteological data, estimated statures of medieval skeletal populations indicate that mean stature of males had decreased from an average 173 cm during the medieval period, to 165 cm at the mid 19th century. This change with respect to stature could possibly be linked to the change in diet. Based on the skeletal material unearthed from Linkoping, Sweden, we explored the possible association between a changing diet and a decreasing stature. We compared the medieval sample (1100-1300 AD) to a sample dated 1780-1810 AD. A significant multiple regression analysis demonstrates that both sex and chronology explain the variation seen in femur length, but not stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen. The Bayesian mixing model with uninformative priors suggests that pike is dominating in both the medieval and historical samples, followed by pig, cattle, cod and herring. Using an informative prior based on the consumption from the 16th century Swedish warship Lindormen did not alter the consumption pattern shown by the inhabitants of Linkoping. As our results do not suggest a major shift in diet, as well as pointing out lacustrine fish as well as pig as more important to the protein in the diet than cattle, it deviates from what is inferred based on historical records. We conclude that the diet in a town cannot be generalized from the consumption of a ship and probably not from institutions either. These contexts have dominated the reconstructions of 19th century diet in Sweden based on historical records. However, there is also the possibility that the two isotopes employed are not sufficiently delicate to detect such dietary changes. Copyright (c) 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
stature, diet, stable isotopes, Linkoping, medieval period, 19th, century, Bayesian mixing model
in
International Journal of Osteoarchaeology
volume
24
issue
4
pages
543 - 556
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • wos:000340447900009
  • scopus:84905575457
ISSN
1047-482X
DOI
10.1002/oa.2247
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
41c04411-547a-4fc4-9d8b-710fc9508215 (old id 4659350)
date added to LUP
2014-09-24 15:16:05
date last changed
2017-08-20 03:23:02
@article{41c04411-547a-4fc4-9d8b-710fc9508215,
  abstract     = {From the early 19th century to the late 20th century, the mean stature of Swedish conscripts increased from 167 to 177 cm. Based on osteological data, estimated statures of medieval skeletal populations indicate that mean stature of males had decreased from an average 173 cm during the medieval period, to 165 cm at the mid 19th century. This change with respect to stature could possibly be linked to the change in diet. Based on the skeletal material unearthed from Linkoping, Sweden, we explored the possible association between a changing diet and a decreasing stature. We compared the medieval sample (1100-1300 AD) to a sample dated 1780-1810 AD. A significant multiple regression analysis demonstrates that both sex and chronology explain the variation seen in femur length, but not stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen. The Bayesian mixing model with uninformative priors suggests that pike is dominating in both the medieval and historical samples, followed by pig, cattle, cod and herring. Using an informative prior based on the consumption from the 16th century Swedish warship Lindormen did not alter the consumption pattern shown by the inhabitants of Linkoping. As our results do not suggest a major shift in diet, as well as pointing out lacustrine fish as well as pig as more important to the protein in the diet than cattle, it deviates from what is inferred based on historical records. We conclude that the diet in a town cannot be generalized from the consumption of a ship and probably not from institutions either. These contexts have dominated the reconstructions of 19th century diet in Sweden based on historical records. However, there is also the possibility that the two isotopes employed are not sufficiently delicate to detect such dietary changes. Copyright (c) 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.},
  author       = {Arcini, Caroline and Ahlström, Torbjörn and Tagesson, Goran},
  issn         = {1047-482X},
  keyword      = {stature,diet,stable isotopes,Linkoping,medieval period,19th,century,Bayesian mixing model},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {543--556},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {International Journal of Osteoarchaeology},
  title        = {Variations in Diet and Stature: Are They Linked? Bioarchaeology and Paleodietary Bayesian Mixing Models from Linkoping, Sweden},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/oa.2247},
  volume       = {24},
  year         = {2014},
}