“To the land or to the sea”: diet and mobility in Early Medieval Frisia

McManus, Ellen; Montgomery, Janet; Evans, Jane; Lamb, Angela; Brettell, Rhea; Jelsma, Johan. 2013 “To the land or to the sea”: diet and mobility in Early Medieval Frisia. The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, 8 (2). 255-277.

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This study investigated palaeodiet and population mobility in early medieval Frisia through the stable isotope analysis of individuals buried in the fifth–eighth century AD cemetery of Oosterbeintum, a terp site on the northern coast of the Netherlands. The results cast new light on the role of the northern Netherlands in trade and migration in the early medieval period, and have significance for the study of interaction and movement throughout the wider North Sea region. Bone collagen and tooth enamel from humans and animals were analyzed using carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and strontium isotopes. δ13C and δ15N results indicated that the population had a terrestrial, C3-based diet. High δ15N values were observed in humans and fauna, which are probably related to the terp's salt-marsh location. The δ18O and 87Sr/86Sr data revealed a high proportion of non-locals buried at Oosterbeintum, some of whom had probably migrated from regions as distant and varied as Scandinavia and southern England. It is suggested that this immigration may be associated with Frisian maritime trading activities. New data are also presented from a small number of contemporaneous European sites.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 1556-4894
Date made live: 05 Feb 2014 15:04 +0 (UTC)

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