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BENEATH BERLIN: INTERPRETING DIETARY RESPONSES TO THE BLACK DEATH IN MEDIEVAL BERLIN USING STABLE ISOTOPE ANALYSIS

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Date Issued:
2017
Summary:
Historical documents from medieval European cities tend to provide useful information on people living during this time. However, due to a lack of surviving documents, little is known about the people of medieval Berlin. Therefore, bioarchaeology is crucial in understanding the history of this major European capital city. Historians have suggested a dietary shift and increased economic opportunities for women following the Black Death, and this project uses stable isotopes to explore these questions. Carbon and nitrogen isotopes were analyzed from 66 skeletons from the Petriplatz cemetery in Berlin, Germany, to understand adult diet. Results indicate a similar diet for males and females but show there is a significant increase in nitrogen after the Black Death, indicating an increased consumption of animal protein. Results also indicate some freshwater fish consumption, and potential cultural reasons for this are explored. Finally, more evidence is needed to understand women's occupations in medieval Berlin. This project provides the first isotopic study of skeletons from Petriplatz and contributes to the body of isotope work on medieval Germany. It also sheds light on how the inhabitants of the city responded to one of the worst pandemics in history.
Title: BENEATH BERLIN: INTERPRETING DIETARY RESPONSES TO THE BLACK DEATH IN MEDIEVAL BERLIN USING STABLE ISOTOPE ANALYSIS.
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Name(s): Zechini, Mariana Elizabeth, Author
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2017
Publisher: University of West Florida
Language(s): English
Summary: Historical documents from medieval European cities tend to provide useful information on people living during this time. However, due to a lack of surviving documents, little is known about the people of medieval Berlin. Therefore, bioarchaeology is crucial in understanding the history of this major European capital city. Historians have suggested a dietary shift and increased economic opportunities for women following the Black Death, and this project uses stable isotopes to explore these questions. Carbon and nitrogen isotopes were analyzed from 66 skeletons from the Petriplatz cemetery in Berlin, Germany, to understand adult diet. Results indicate a similar diet for males and females but show there is a significant increase in nitrogen after the Black Death, indicating an increased consumption of animal protein. Results also indicate some freshwater fish consumption, and potential cultural reasons for this are explored. Finally, more evidence is needed to understand women's occupations in medieval Berlin. This project provides the first isotopic study of skeletons from Petriplatz and contributes to the body of isotope work on medieval Germany. It also sheds light on how the inhabitants of the city responded to one of the worst pandemics in history.
Identifier: WFE0000596 (IID), uwf:61186 (fedora)
Note(s): 2017-12-01
M.A.
Department of Anthropology
Masters
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/uwf/fd/WFE0000596
Restrictions on Access: public
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/
Host Institution: UWF

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