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Authors: Scheeres, Mirjam
Title: High mobility rates during the period of the "Celtic migrations"? - 87 Sr, 86 Sr and delta 18 O evidence from Early La Tène Europe
Online publication date: 8-Apr-2014
Language: english
Abstract: Although the period of the historic â Celtic migrationsâ is archaeologically extensively studied, the long-lasting question whether mass migration or increased individual mobility caused the expansion of the La Tène culture throughout continental Europe persist. Strontium (Sr) and in part oxygen (O) isotope analysis of human remains from the early La Tène cemeteries of Nebringen (Germany), Münsingen-Rain (Switzerland), Monte Bibele (Italy) and the Czech cemeteries of Radovesice I, Radovesice II and Kutná Hora was, therefore, carried out to investigate the importance of residential changes during this time period. These isotope analyses showed that most analysed individuals either came from the area they were buried in or from the surrounding area of the cemetery. An exception was formed by the Czech cemeteries, where almost a quarter of the studied individuals appeared non-local. Together with Nebringen, these cemeteries also had the most varied Sr isotope ratios, which suggest highly mobile communities in which individuals regularly changed their residency. The isotopic ratios of the cemeteries of Münsingen-Rain and Monte Bibele appeared far less varied. In part, these differences might be explained by the community structures of these cemeteries. Morphological kinship analysis in Münsingen-Rain demonstrated biological relatedness among most of the analysed individuals. These related individuals also shared similar isotope signatures, which suggest an origin from the surrounding Aar Valley. In the vicinity of the cemetery of Monte Bibele, an associated settlement site was discovered. The deceased presumably not only shared this settlement, but also cultivated the same land plots. Dispersed settlement structures were suggested for Nebringen, Radovesice and Kutná Hora, as these agriculturally favourable landscapes were densely populated during prehistoric times. Connected to these community structures are the prevailing geological conditions in these areas. Both Münsingen-Rain and Monte Bibele are located in a region where homogeneous geological conditions prevail, whereas the landscapes of Nebringen, Radovesice and Kutná Hora are characterised by complex heterogeneous geological conditions. As the majority of individuals in Nebringen and the Czech cemeteries correspond to the expected isotope values for the studied areas, regularly changing land plots might have contributed to the observed variation. Although mass migration as depicted by the historical sources was not observed individual mobility of a small part of these studied communities certainly played a role. Males appeared, thereby, to have slightly more often a non-local birthplace or moved during childhood. Male mobility was, however, not always associated with burial as a warrior. Females, on the other hand, originated more often from the region. Patrilocal residential patterns, with the exception of the Czech cemeteries, were nevertheless not observed. Objects and ideas also seem to have been exchanged freely, as there are no indications that individuals with particular grave goods came from specific areas. It rather appears that the individuals buried with them were either local or had different places of origin. This can be explained by the fact that the exact origin of grave goods is difficult to establish and the occurrence of similar 87Sr/86Sr values in different areas. This study provided important new insights on the period of the â Celtic migrationsâ and the way of life of these prehistoric people.
DDC: 570 Biowissenschaften
570 Life sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 10 Biologie
Place: Mainz
URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:77-37170
Version: Original work
Publication type: Dissertation
License: In Copyright
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Extent: 139 S.
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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