(ORDO NEWS) — Isotope analysis of the bones and teeth of the remains of people from the Luistari cemetery showed that the Finns had eaten freshwater fish for centuries and gradually began to eat more carbohydrates.
In terms of quality, the Finns’ food here was not inferior to the diet of the Vikings in Birka, the richest center of trade.
Most of the burials in Luistari date back to 800-1200 years. Both men and women were buried here, whose remains were found during lengthy excavations in the 20th century.
Many graves also contained household items, including clothing, weapons, and money. Their abundance and value have led scholars to suggest that the local settlement was an important trading center.
Bioarchaeologists from the University of Helsinki, together with colleagues from Japan, analyzed carbon and nitrogen isotopes in collagen samples from 37 teeth from 15 people and 33 bones belonging to 25 people.
For another 22 people, the authors of the study analyzed the content of sulfur dioxide and its isotopes. For 65 people, it was possible to obtain enamel and/or bone samples to determine the carbonate content.
According to the results of these studies, the Finns in Luistari have consumed a lot of freshwater fish for centuries and have not been deficient in protein. At the same time, they did not eat seafood, unlike the Vikings from Birka.
Scientists have not found differences in the nutrition of men and women, which is found in such studies. But at the same time, the isotopic composition of sulfur could differ greatly from person to person, which can be explained by population growth.
Because of this, individuals were given the opportunity (or the need) to leave the house and find new sources of food.
Judging by the change in carbon isotopes, the Finns gradually mastered agriculture, consuming more and more carbohydrates.
It is not known what the average life expectancy was in this society, how many people lived here and what they were sick with. However, the authors believe that it can be assumed.
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