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The Late Neolithic Portuguese Diet: an Assessment Through Stable Isotope Analysis of Dental Calculus
The research presented involves stable isotope analysis of human dental calculus from Neolithic and Bronze Age remains from Portugal. For this thesis 80 dental calculus samples from Neolithic period remains and two calculus samples from Bronze Age remains were analyzed. This study looks to expand the understanding of the use of dental calculus for stable isotope analysis in comparison to traditional materials used to do stable isotope analysis, such as bone collagen, and the Neolithic diet. Questions that are being addressed through this study are can dental calculus be used to understand the diet of a person through stable isotope analysis in comparison to using bone collagen for stable isotope analysis. Previous studies done in Portugal for the Neolithic time period are not as numerous as Mesolithic and the time periods after. During the Mesolithic, humans were still hunter/gatherers. In the Neolithic farming was introduced across Europe, changing the way that people obtained food. Stable isotope analysis can help in understanding that shift. Dental calculus being used for stable isotope analysis is a new process that is still being tested for its accuracy. It can be used as a non-invasive way to run stable isotope analysis.