Exploring dietary choices during life and status after death provides information about status and identity within an evolving and expanding Christian community. Through a combination of multi-isotopic analyses (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, strontium), GIS mapping, and historical evidence, the life story of Medieval French Christians, buried in the elite cemetery of Saint-Jean de Todon (9th – 13th century) (n = 192) and lower-status cemetery of Saint-Victor-la-Coste (9th – 13th century) (n = 21), can be elucidated. Dietary differences were found between the two cemetery populations using carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis from bone collagen. Incorporating archaeological evidence with isotopic data, a hierarchy within the Saint-Jean group was also discovered. Using tooth dentin collagen from permanent molars, carbon and nitrogen isotopes were employed to investigate childhood diet between the two cemetery groups. It was found that non-adults from both groups ate similar foods during childhood, but a closer look at childhood to adulthood diet found a dietary shift occurred after the age of 20. This coincides at the time males were following the rule on fasts, substituting meat for freshwater fish for approximately half the year, and working their way up through the church. Tooth enamel apatite is used to investigate region of origin and mobility patterns through oxygen and strontium isotopes. Data indicated most individuals originate from within France, moving to the Rhône River corridor after childhood. Some individuals (n = 11) show evidence of migrating to France from Spain and North Africa. Research suggests that burials at the Saint-Jean de Todon cemetery belong to priests and monks and their families, as well as founding families and others who provided gifts or extra services to the church to be buried there. These data from this research explores the impact of Christianity on diet, mobility, and social status during the Medieval period in rural southern France.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Integrative Anthropology Science
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Holmstrom, Jane, "Examining Diet, Mobility, and Social Dynamics in Southern Medieval France Using a Multi-Isotopic and GIS Approach" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1027.