Changes in dietary practices and social organization during the pivotal late iron age period in Norway (AD 550-1030) : isotope analyses of Merovingian and Viking Age human remains
Naumann, E.; Price, T.Douglas.; Richards, M.P.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology 155(3): 322-331
Human remains representing 33 individuals buried along the coast in northern Norway were analyzed for diet composition using collagen stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis. Where possible, both teeth and bone were included to investigate whether there were dietary changes from childhood to adulthood. A general shift was documented from the Merovingian Age 550-800 AD to the Viking Age AD 800-1050 (VA), with a heavier reliance on marine diet in the VA. Dietary life history data show that 15 individuals changed their diets through life with 11 of these having consumed more marine foods in the later years of life. In combination with (87) Sr/(86) Sr data, it is argued that at least six individuals possibly originated from inland areas and then moved to the coastal region where they were eventually interred. The trend is considered in relation to the increasing expansion of the marine fishing industry at this time, and it is suggested that results from isotope analyses reflect the expanding production and export of stockfish in this region.