Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Sci Rep. 2018 Mar 26;8(1):5177. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-22995-2.

Urban and nomadic isotopic niches reveal dietary connectivities along Central Asia's Silk Roads.

Author information

1
Institute for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Johanna-Mestorf-Straße 2-6, 24118, Kiel, Germany. trhermes@gshdl.uni-kiel.de.
2
Graduate School 'Human Development in Landscapes', Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Leibniz Straße 3, 24118, Kiel, Germany. trhermes@gshdl.uni-kiel.de.
3
SAIE Laboratory, Department of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis, CB 1114, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, 63130, USA. frachetti@wustl.edu.
4
SAIE Laboratory, Department of Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis, CB 1114, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, 63130, USA.
5
Institute for Archaeological Research, Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, Yahya Gulamov Street No. 70, Tashkent, 100000, Uzbekistan.
6
Afrasiyab Museum, Islam Karimov Street No. 7, Samarkand, 114151, Uzbekistan.
7
Institute for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Johanna-Mestorf-Straße 2-6, 24118, Kiel, Germany. c.makarewicz@ufg.uni-kiel.de.
8
Graduate School 'Human Development in Landscapes', Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Leibniz Straße 3, 24118, Kiel, Germany. c.makarewicz@ufg.uni-kiel.de.

Abstract

The ancient 'Silk Roads' formed a vast network of trade and exchange that facilitated the movement of commodities and agricultural products across medieval Central Asia via settled urban communities and mobile pastoralists. Considering food consumption patterns as an expression of socio-economic interaction, we analyse human remains for carbon and nitrogen isotopes in order to establish dietary intake, then model isotopic niches to characterize dietary diversity and infer connectivity among communities of urbanites and nomadic pastoralists. The combination of low isotopic variation visible within urban groups with isotopic distinction between urban communities irrespective of local environmental conditions strongly suggests localized food production systems provided primary subsistence rather than agricultural goods exchanged along trade routes. Nomadic communities, in contrast, experienced higher dietary diversity reflecting engagements with a wide assortment of foodstuffs typical for mobile communities. These data indicate tightly bound social connectivity in urban centres pointedly funnelled local food products and homogenized dietary intake within settled communities, whereas open and opportunistic systems of food production and circulation were possible through more mobile lifeways.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center