Friday, June 1, 2012

Did LBK Farmers Assimilate Outsiders?

Were Stronium level in bones and status differences in LBK farmers due to social class (an issue I blogged previously a few days ago), or is this scenario from Annie Mouse commenting at Dienekes' blog more plausible?
The real question here is why in a farming community were they not ALL high in Strontium? You simply did not have rich farmer A on loess living next to poor farmers B, C and D on some other soil.  
These deposits were enormous, the entire settlement would have sat upon it. And probably the surrounding settlements. Check out this map of loess in Europe.  
Clearly a lot of folk in the community ate other things as children. Did they convert to farming? Or was this a mixed community based on farming? I favour the latter explanation.  
Yep looks like the farmers were patrilocal and married women who were not born into farming families. Probably because that was true for most of the available women (other than their sisters). This is not rich-farmer versus poor-farmer. This is born-a-farmer (high Sr) versus not-born-a-farmer (low Sr).
Also, the map of loess soils in Europe linked in the blockquote is itself an impressive resource.  It was prepared in 2007 as the first comprehensive update since 1932, to modern GPS standards.  It is a valuable resource for understanding a key driver of Neolithic expansion and also later European geographical issues.


Maju said...

Just to mention that hunter-gatherers also seem to have preferred loess areas. For what I have read, the European steppe-tundra of the Ice Age can be divided in two broad economic zones: with loess (good) and dry (bad). Most people, at least East of the Franco-Cantabrian region and Italy, lived in loess steppe-tundra areas, according to the archaeological record.

andrew said...

Fascinating. It makes the UP to Neolithic transition sound more similar to the 18th century and early 19th century Northern American experience with Native Americans than I had previously realized.