Stable isotope analyses of multiple tissue types have been used to reconstruct life histories of individuals from past populations. This thesis presents the life history reconstructions of a unique population recovered from a 16th to 18th century cathedral crypt located in Vilnius, Lithuania. The sample consists of 23 individuals (21 males, one possible female, and one juvenile). Stable carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen isotope analyses were performed on bone and dentin collagen, and on bone and enamel hydroxyapatite, resulting in eight isotope values per individual, providing both childhood and adult dietary and migration information. For bone collagen the average δ13C isotope ratio is -19.9‰ +/- 0.4 and for δ15N is 11.8‰ +/- 0.9. The average δ13C isotope ratio for collagen extracted from dentin is -19.5‰ +/- 0.4 and for δ15N is 11.4‰ +/- 0.9. The bone apatite average δ13C ratio is -14.2‰ +/- 0.9, and the average δ13C enamel ratio enamel is -13.5‰ +/- 1.5. These values indicate a diet in both early childhood and adulthood that was heavily reliant on C3 plants; a result supported by previous isotopic studies from Lithuania and surrounding countries. The average δ18OVSMOW bone apatite ratio is 26.1‰ +/- 1.0 and the average enamel δ18OVSMOW ratio is 24.9‰ +/- 1.5. The δ18O isotope values suggest that the majority of these individuals were born elsewhere and migrated to the city of Vilnius sometime after their childhood years. Stable isotope analyses, in combination with macroscopic examination, aids in the understanding of those who were buried in this unique location.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Schotten, Kaylee, "The Crypt People from the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Vladislaus, Vilnius, Lithuania: Reconstruction of Life Histories Using Stable Isotope Analysis" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5024.