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Investigating infant feeding strategies at Roman Bainesse through Bayesian modelling of incremental dentine isotopic data

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Cocozza,  Carlo
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Fernandes,  Ricardo
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Gross,  Marcus
Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Cocozza, C., Fernandes, R., Ughi, A., Gross, M., & Alexander, M. M. (2021). Investigating infant feeding strategies at Roman Bainesse through Bayesian modelling of incremental dentine isotopic data. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, n/a(n/a): oa.2962. doi:10.1002/oa.2962.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-D772-6
Abstract
Abstract We present the first study employing Bayesian modelling of isotopic measurements on dentine increments (five human upper first molars) to address Romano-British infant feeding practices at Bainesse (UK). The stable carbon and nitrogen isotope results modelled to six-month intervals with novel OsteoBioR software, revealed some common patterns, with weaning not starting before the age of six months and higher animal protein consumption after the age of seven. The latter possibly indicated a ?survival? threshold, evidenced by historical sources and osteological data, hence marking a rise in social status of children. The important role of Bainesse as commercial hub in relation to the fort of Cataractonium does not exclude a priori the possibility that medical treatises and Roman culture were known at the site. However, our results also showed significant intra-individual differences with weaning cessation taking place between two and five years, suggesting that these were followed only partially and other aspects influenced family decisions on infant feeding practices in Bainesse.