Limited research has assessed the lived experiences of juveniles during the Nubian Meroitic Period (300 BCE - 350 CE). Therefore, the focus of this research is to examine dietary patterns throughout development of elite juveniles from Sai Island, Sudan to identify if dietary variations exist throughout development that may be a result of social differences within the juvenile population. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analyses of tooth dentin from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd molars of 11 adult individuals interred at cemetery 8-B-52.B on Sai Island are utilized to examine diet through the life course. As each tooth corresponds to a different developmental stage, the dietary patterns from the entirety of juvenile life can be examined via a longitudinal approach. Mann-Whitney U tests and Kruskal-Wallis tests did not reveal statistically significant differences (p > 0.05) in isotopic values between the sexes or molar types. The individual data trends, however, suggest there are differences in dietary patterns between sexes and molar types. A Levene's homoscedasticity test found a statistically significant difference in nitrogen isotopic values between sexes (p = 0.02), indicating a dissimilarity in nitrogen variation between males and females. Carbon isotopic trends suggest that during juvenile life, individuals are primarily consuming either C3 or a mixture of C3 and C4 resources. Overall, the results suggest that disparate variations exist in dietary patterns between sexes during development. Males are observed to have substantially more variation in carbon and nitrogen isotopic values, likely indicating access to a wider variety of resources than females during development. Once individuals reach adulthood, males and females appear to consume more homogenous diets. This research is important as it demonstrates how juvenile life history can be analyzed in the absence of juvenile skeletal remains that are typically not preserved in bioarchaeological assessments.


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Graduation Date





Dupras, Tosha


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program



CFE0009513; DP0027517





Release Date

May 2023

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)