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A strontium and oxygen isotope assessment of a possible fourth century immigrant population in a Hampshire cemetery, southern England

Evans, Jane; Stoodley, N; Chenery, Carolyn. 2006 A strontium and oxygen isotope assessment of a possible fourth century immigrant population in a Hampshire cemetery, southern England. Journal of archaeological science, 33 (2). 265-272. 10.1016/j.jas.2005.07.011

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Abstract/Summary

The aim of the project was to test the hypothesis, using oxygen and strontium isotopes, that a group of burials in the Late Roman cemetery of Lankhills, Winchester, southern England, were migrants from the Danube region of central Europe. The method assumes that the oxygen isotope composition of immigrants from this locale would be significantly more depleted that any one British origin and that the restricted range in Sr isotope compositions produced by chalk in the overlying biosphere of southern England would discriminate between the local population and settlers from elsewhere. As a control for the immigrant group a sample of Romano-British individuals were examined to provide a comparative data set. The results showed that the majority of the individuals used to define the “local” control group plotted in a restricted field of strontium and oxygen isotope composition that was consistent with the values expected for the Hampshire area of southern England. By contrast, the “exotic”, putatively immigrant population generated a much more dispersed field including four with δ18O drinking water values of −10‰ or less, which supports a non-British origin for these individuals. The study shows that the archaeological data suggesting that there is an exotic population buried at the Lankhills cemetery is generally supported by the isotope work, although the “exotic” group appears to a rather dispersed set of individuals rather than a single population from a restricted overseas location.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.jas.2005.07.011
Programmes: BGS Programmes > NERC Isotope Geoscience Laboratory
ISSN: 0305-4403
Additional Keywords: Oxygen -- Isotopes, Strontium isotopes, Burial history, EW299, Hampshire, Oxygen isotopes; Strontium isotopes; Migration; Burial ritual; Lankhills
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Archaeology
Date made live: 04 Jul 2007 10:43
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/601

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