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McCall, A., Gamarra, B., Duffett Carlson, K.S., Bernert, Z., Cséki, A., Csengeri, P., Domboróczki, L., Endrődi, A., Hellebrandt, M., Horváth, A., Király, Krisztián Kiss., Judit Koós, A., Péter Kovács, P., Köhler, K., Szolnoki, L., K. Zoffmann, Z., Sirak, K., Szeniczey, T., Dani, J., Hajdu T., & Pinhasi R., (2022). “Stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes identify nuanced dietary changes from the Bronze and Iron Ages on the Great Hungarian Plain.” Scientific Reports 12(1): 16982.
The Great Hungarian Plain (GHP) served as a geographic funnel for population mobility throughout prehistory. Genomic and isotopic research demonstrates non-linear genetic turnover and technological shifts between the Copper and Iron Ages of the GHP, which influenced the dietary strategies of numerous cultures that intermixed and overlapped through time. Given the complexities of these prehistoric cultural and demographic processes, this study aims to identify and elucidate diachronic and culture-specific dietary signatures. We report on stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios from 74 individuals from nineteen sites in the GHP dating to a ~ 3000-year time span between the Early Bronze and Early Iron Ages. The samples broadly indicate a terrestrial C3 diet with nuanced differences amongst populations and through time, suggesting exogenous influences that manifested in subsistence strategies. Slightly elevated δ15N values for Bronze Age samples imply higher reliance on protein than in the Iron Age. Interestingly, the Füzesabony have carbon values typical of C4 vegetation indicating millet consumption, or that of a grain with comparable δ13C ratios, which corroborates evidence from outside the GHP for its early cultivation during the Middle Bronze Age. Finally, our results also suggest locally diverse subsistence economies for GHP Scythians.