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  Archaeological, proteomic and isotopic approaches to investigating dietary change in Holocene Africa

Bleasdale, M. (2020). Archaeological, proteomic and isotopic approaches to investigating dietary change in Holocene Africa. PhD Thesis, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Faculty of Biosciences, Jena. doi:10.22032/dbt.47618.

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OA. - Dissertation, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, 2020
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Bleasdale, Madeleine1, Author              
Boivin, Nicole L.1, Advisor              
Fischer, Martin, Advisor
Collins, Matthew, Advisor
1Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074312              


Free keywords: Archäologie, Holozän, Ökosystem, Waldweide, Afrika
 Abstract: Africa is one of the most climatically and ecologically diverse continents on the planet and provides important case studies for considering the context in which pastoralism and agriculture first emerged. Despite the importance of Africa in our global understanding of food production, for many regions, the paucity of large-scale, dated zooarchaeological and archaeobotanical evidence from the Holocene means we still have a limited understanding of how herding and farming developed. This thesis provides new dietary insights into past communities living in eastern and Central Africa: two key regions where it has been argued that changing environments played a major role in shaping agricultural and pastoral expansions. It is hypothesized that in arid northern and eastern Africa the development of pastoral lifeways, including dairying, were influenced by water availability with the desiccation of the Sahara and shifting monsoons pushing communities southwards. In contrast, the closed, humid and wet conditions of the equatorial rainforest are thought to have presented barriers for the expansion of agriculture. The three papers presented here provide new multidisciplinary evidence for milk and domesticated plant consumption in Holocene Africa and emphasise the need for a more nuanced, context-specific approach to understanding past subsistence in eastern and Central Africa rather than sweeping models based on genetics, linguistics, or environmentally determinist assumptions


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-01-192020
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: 205
 Publishing info: Jena : Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Faculty of Biosciences
 Table of Contents: 1. Introduction
2. Pastoral lifeways in eastern Africa
2.1 "Cattle before crops: the emergence pf pastoralism in Africa
2.2 Milk consumption: nutritional and cultural implications
2.3 Tracing the origins of milk consumption in Afrika
3. Agricultural reliance in Central Africa
3.1 Agricultural systems in the Tropics
3.2 The Bantu Expansion and changing diets in Central Africa
4. Methods of paleodietary reconstruction used in this thesis
4.1 Paleoproteomics
4.2 Dietary proteins in dental calculus
4.3 Species-specific evidence from milk proteins
4.4 Dietary reconstruction using stable isotope analyses
5. Aims of the thesis
6. Overview of manuscripts and author contributions
6.1 Manuscript A
6.2 Manuscript B
6.3 Manuscript C
7. Manuscript A
8. Manuscript B
9. Manuscript C
10. Discussion
10.1 Pastoralism and dairying in eastern Afrika
10.1.1 Methodological potentials and challanges Identifying milk consumption using paleoproteomic methods Data analysis and establishing authenticity for low-abundance samples Identifying milk consumptio using bulk collagen isotope analysis
10.1.2 Implications for the spread of dairying and pastoralism
10.2 The development of agriculture in Central Africa
10.2.1 Methodological potentials and challenges Stable isotope approaches to agriculture reliance in Central Africa The importance of local baselines
10.2.2 Implications for the expansion of agriculture into the Congo Basin
10.3 Future Directions
10.4 Conclusion
11. References
12. Summary
 Rev. Type: -
 Degree: PhD



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