A brief review of the archaeological evidence for Palaeolithic and Neolithic subsistence

  title={A brief review of the archaeological evidence for Palaeolithic and Neolithic subsistence},
  author={M. P. Richards},
  journal={European Journal of Clinical Nutrition},
  • M. Richards
  • Published 1 December 2002
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Knowledge of our ancestor's diets is becoming increasingly important in evolutionary medicine, as researchers have argued that we have evolved to specific type of ‘Palaeolithic’ diet, and many modern nutritional disorders relate to the mismatch between the diet to which we have evolved, and the relatively newer agricultural-based ‘Neolithic’ diets. However, what is the archaeological evidence for pre-agricultural diets and how have they changed over the four million years of hominid evolution… 

A multidisciplinary reconstruction of Palaeolithic nutrition that holds promise for the prevention and treatment of diseases of civilisation

The evidence for the long-reigning hypothesis of human evolution on the arid savanna is weighed against the hypothesis that man evolved in the proximity of water and the composition and merits of so-called 'Palaeolithic diets' are evaluated.


The authors consider scientific studies of Ukrainian skeletal material across the Epipalaeolithic to Eneolithic periods and offer some observations in relation to the efficacy of studies undertaken

Plant use in the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic: Food, medicine and raw materials

  • K. Hardy
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Quaternary Science Reviews
  • 2018

Strontium isotope tracing of prehistoric human mobility in France

Human mobility in recent history is well documented and often related to drastic external changes, including war, famine, and the discovery and exploration of new geographic regions and resources.

Late Upper Palaeolithic human diet: first stable isotope evidence from Riparo Tagliente (Verona, Italy)

This article reports results of carbon (13C/12C) and nitrogen (15N/14N) stable isotope analysis performed on the bone collagen of a Late Epigravettian human individual and 11 faunal remains from the

Genomics at the origins of agriculture, part one

Genomic analysis provides insights into the complexity of the process of domestication that may not be apparent from the physical remains of bones and seeds, and allows us to measure the impact that the shift to primary food production had on the human genome.

Die Ernährung des Menschen im evolutionsmedizinischen Kontext

The food selection during hominid evolution is characterized based on current paleontologic research to show that there was neither specialization in certain foods, nor a typical plant-animal ratio nor a defined macronutrient distribution.



Prospects for Stable Isotopic Analysis of Later Pleistocene Hominid Diets in West Asia and Europe

The transition from “archaic” to “modern” human behavior, coincident with the transition from the Middle to the Upper Paleolithic (MP/UP) and the Middle to the Later Stone Age (MSA/LSA), may have

Neanderthal diet at Vindija and Neanderthal predation: the evidence from stable isotopes.

The isotope evidence overwhelmingly points to the Neanderthals behaving as top-level carnivores, obtaining almost all of their dietary protein from animal sources, and reinforces current taphonomic assessments of associated faunal elements and makes it unlikely that the Neanderthal were acquiring animal protein principally through scavenging.

Diet of Australopithecus robustus at Swartkrans from stable carbon isotopic analysis

This work addresses the question of A. robustus diet using 13C/12C ratio analysis of structural carbonate in tooth enamel, which has been shown to retain biogenic isotopic composition over long periods, contra earlier arguments based on bone apatite.

The Mesolithic-Neolithic Transition in Portugal: Isotopic and Dental Evidence of Diet

Paired radiocarbon (AMS) and stable isotope (δ13C and δ15N) analyses of human bone collagen from Mesolithic and Neolithic Portuguese skeletons suggest a marked change of diet just prior to 7000 BP at

Combining isotopic and ecomorphological data to refine bovid paleodietary reconstruction: a case study from the Makapansgat Limeworks hominin locality.

Recon reconstructions of the diets of seven bovids from Makapansgat Limeworks, South Africa show that in most cases, fossil bovid did have similar diets to their extant relatives, and probably occupied similar habitats.

Stable Isotopy and Archaeology

Biological evolution among hominids leading to the appearance of the genus Homo was intimately associated with changes in diet. The subsequent developments of human social and economic organization

Ancient Maya Diet: as Inferred from Isotopic and Elemental Analysis of Human Bone

FOCUS: Gough's Cave and Sun Hole Cave Human Stable Isotope Values Indicate a High Animal Protein Diet in the British Upper Palaeolithic

We undertook stable isotope analysis of Upper Palaeolithic humans and fauna from the sites of Gough's Cave and Sun Hole Cave, Somerset, U.K., for palaeodietary reconstruction. We were testing the

Isotopic evidence for prehistoric subsistence change at Parmana, Venezuela

Stable carbon isotope measurements on human skeletons from Parmana show that a dramatic shift in the prehistoric diet from dependence on C3 plants to C4 plants (which include maize) did take place.