Tracing intensive fish and meat consumption using Zn isotope ratios: evidence from a historical Breton population (Rennes, France)

Abstract : Here we report Sr and Zn isotope ratios of teeth of medieval to early modern Breton people a population whose diet is known from historical, archeological and collagen isotope data. Most of the population, buried in the Dominican convent of Rennes, France, consists of parliamentary nobles, wealthy commoners and ecclesiastics, who had a diet rich in animal products. Our aim is to assess how the Zn isotope ratios of their teeth compare to those of other French historical populations previously studied, which were characterized by cereal-based diets, and those of modern French individuals, who daily eat animal products. We describe a clear offset (∼0.35‰) between local and non-local human individuals in Zn isotope ratios. The δ 66 Zn tooth values of local individuals overlap that of modern French people, and are lower than those of local carnivores. Non-local δ 66 Zn values are similar to those of historical individuals analyzed previously. We conclude the lower Zn isotope ratios of local humans relative to the associated fauna can be explained by the consumption of carnivorous fish and pork, in agreement with historical, zooarchaeological and collagen (C, N, S) isotope data. Zn isotopes could therefore be a tracer of fish and/or substantial meat consumption in ancient populations.
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Klervia Jaouen, Rozenn Colleter, Anita Pietrzak, Marie-Laure Pons, Benoît Clavel, et al.. Tracing intensive fish and meat consumption using Zn isotope ratios: evidence from a historical Breton population (Rennes, France). Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2018, 8 (1), pp.5077. ⟨10.1038/s41598-018-23249-x⟩. ⟨hal-01851752⟩

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