Taking a Bite out of History: Hellenistic Dietary Reconstruction and Population Mobility at the Site of New Halos, Thessaly, Greece

  • Author / Creator
    Sparkes, Hillary A
  • The Hellenistic site of New Halos in Thessaly Greece was founded around 302 BC and was occupied for a short period of time until it was destroyed by an earthquake. The short occupation makes New Halos an ideal site for study because it represents a snapshot of rural Hellenistic life. Both the site of New Halos and an associated Hellenistic cemetery were excavated prior to this research. Skeletal remains from 98 individuals were collected for stable isotope analysis. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes from bone collagen and enamel carbonate were used to analyze diet composition. Mobility patterns were studied using strontium and oxygen isotopes from enamel apatite. The goals of this study were to investigate dietary habits at New Halos and understand dietary preferences. This study evaluated the importance of marine resources at New Halos. New Halos is situated close to the coast and during the excavations many marine shellfish were recovered suggesting they were an important dietary resource. The majority of the individuals at New Halos were consuming a C3 terrestrial based diet. Some individuals showed signs of marine input while others appear to have consumed a diet whose protein was drawn primarily from domesticated animal products. A second thread of investigation involved examining migration patterns and population composition. During the Hellenistic period many new settlements were established, but it is unclear where the population of these new settlements came from. The strontium and oxygen isotope results were able to identify that the population of New Halos was a mixture of both local and non-local individuals. It appears that the majority of non-local individuals were from areas to the west of New Halos towards the Othris mountain chain; others could have come from further afield. The isotopic investigation at New Halos has provided exciting results about this population.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2017
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.