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Multi-isotope analysis reveals that feasts in the Stonehenge environs and across Wessex drew people and animals from throughout Britain

Madgwick, Richard, Lamb, Angela, Sloane, Hilary, Nederbragt, Alexandra, Albarella, Umberto, Parker Pearson, Michael and Evans, Jane 2019. Multi-isotope analysis reveals that feasts in the Stonehenge environs and across Wessex drew people and animals from throughout Britain. Science Advances 5 (3) , -. 10.1126/sciadv.aau6078

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Abstract

The great henge complexes of southern Britain are iconic monuments of the third millennium BCE, representing great feats of engineering and labor mobilization that hosted feasting events on a previously unparalleled scale. The scale of movement and the catchments that the complexes served, however, have thus far eluded understanding. Presenting the largest five-isotope system archeological dataset (87Sr/86Sr, δ34S, δ18O, δ13C, and δ15N) yet fully published, we analyze 131 pigs, the prime feasting animals, from four Late Neolithic (approximately 2800 to 2400 BCE) complexes to explore the networks that the feasts served. Because archeological evidence excludes continental contact, sources are considered only in the context of the British Isles. This analysis reveals wide-ranging origins across Britain, with few pigs raised locally. This finding demonstrates great investment of effort in transporting pigs raised elsewhere over vast distances to supply feasts and evidences the very first phase of pan-British connectivity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science: Science Advances / AAAS
ISSN: 2375-2548
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 April 2019
Date of Acceptance: 29 January 2019
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2019 15:15
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/120681

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