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Archaeology & Anthropology: Open Access

The Stable Isotope Methodin Human Paleopathology and Nutritional Stress Analysis

  • Open or Close Gabriele Scorrano*

    Department of Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy

    *Corresponding author: Gabriele Scorrano, Center of Molecular Anthropology for the Study of Ancient DNA, Department of Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata, via della Ricerca Scientifica n. 1, 00173, Rome, Italy

Submission: May 10, 2017; Published: May 10, 2018

DOI: 10.31031/AAOA.2018.01.000523

ISSN: 2577-1949
Volume1 Issue5


The use of stable isotopes to analyse the diet composition in ancient populations, calculating the carbon and nitrogen isotopic ratios detectable from the bone collagen, begun in the mid-1970s. These stable isotopes are useful in diet reconstruction, because the food sources are isotopically distinct and hence, they are well established indicators of the main dietary sources consumed by an individual over his life-span. Moreover, in the last few years the isotopic method has been also applied to modern individuals suffering from eating disorders or nutritional stress, underscoring the relevance of an isotopic fractionation change occurring under these conditions. The biochemical mechanisms related to starvation or nutritional stress complicate the interpretation of the results from isotopic data in ancient bones remains, where it is not possible to use medical information for the samples analysed. Then, the aim of the present mini-review is to propose a correct analytical workflow for anthropological analyses.

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