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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55632
Doc. No:TL25586
Call number:‭NR43101‬
Main Entry:Lana J. Williams
Title & Author:Investigating seasonality of death at Kellis 2 cemetery using solar alignment and isotopic analysis of mummified tissuesLana J. Williams
College:The University of Western Ontario (Canada)
Date:2008
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2008
Page No:288
Abstract:This study involves the investigation of seasonality of death at Kellis 2 cemetery (c. AD 50-450), Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt, using solar alignment analysis of graves in conjunction with stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of naturally mummified tissues. The hypothesis that the graves and tomb structures of the Kellis 2 cemetery were aligned with the rising sun was tested using archaeoastronomy and field survey methods. The high degree of variation within the alignment of the graves and the statistical evidence of non-uniform distribution on a row-segmented pattern seen within the Kellis 2 cemetery strongly suggest that the graves were aligned to the solar arc of the rising sun along the eastern horizon. Seasonal mortality for the Kellis 2 population was derived from the solar alignment of graves and compared with previously accepted interpretations of seasonal mortality for Roman Egypt. Graves of adult females and infants were more frequently aligned with the warmer seasons than those of adult males. There is a clear indication of similarity among the data sources for high seasonal incidence of mortality in Roman Egypt from late spring through summer and extending into early autumn. This study used tissue rehydration and growth-phase identification to determine the extent that interpretation of isotopic data from segmental analysis of human hair may be affected by positional-temporal errors. Growth phase was shown to have an effect on isotopic data in a seasonal context and in individual contexts. Using this more refined method of sample preparation for hair, stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes of hair ( n = 216), nail (n = 61), skin (n = 143) and gut content (n = 8) of individuals from the Kellis 2 cemetery were analyzed in order to reconstruct short-term dietary variability or stability in the Dakhleh Oasis. The results indicate that the Kellis 2 population consumed significantly greater quantities of C3 plants (wheat, barley, fruits, vegetables) than C4 plants (millet, sorghum) even though millet was produced locally during the Roman period. When solar alignment of graves for the Kellis 2 population, schedules of crop harvest in the Oasis, and changes in the δ13 C values from hair were evaluated, peaks of 13 C-enrichment in the mean values of hair were found to overlap with expected periods of seasonal harvest for C4 grains and during periods when grain stores would have been at their lowest. In the months when C 3 grains were most plentiful, there was a clear trend of 13 C-depletion in the mean values of hair. The slight variations that accompany the seasonal shifts in diet at Kellis were used to refine seasonal mortality profiles obtained from the solar alignment of the graves and a consistent late spring and early summer mortality peak for the Kellis 2 population was supported by all lines of evidence. Keywords . Bioarchaeology, stable isotopes, diet, solar alignment, seasonality, mortality, hair, mummified tissues, Roman Egypt
Subject:Social sciences; Earth sciences; Seasonality; Death; Kellis 2 cemetary; Solar alignment; Isotopic analysis; Mummified tissues; Egypt; Archaeology; Physical anthropology; Biogeochemistry; 0327:Physical anthropology; 0324:Archaeology; 0425:Biogeochemistry
Added Entry:The University of Western Ontario (Canada)