Scientific Reports (Feb 2021)

Multipronged dental analyses reveal dietary differences in last foragers and first farmers at Grotta Continenza, central Italy (15,500–7000 BP)

  • Alessia Nava,
  • Elena Fiorin,
  • Andrea Zupancich,
  • Marialetizia Carra,
  • Claudio Ottoni,
  • Gabriele Di Carlo,
  • Iole Vozza,
  • Orlando Brugnoletti,
  • Francesca Alhaique,
  • Renata Grifoni Cremonesi,
  • Alfredo Coppa,
  • Luca Bondioli,
  • Dušan Borić,
  • Emanuela Cristiani

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 1
pp. 1 – 14


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Abstract This paper provides results from a suite of analyses made on human dental material from the Late Palaeolithic to Neolithic strata of the cave site of Grotta Continenza situated in the Fucino Basin of the Abruzzo region of central Italy. The available human remains from this site provide a unique possibility to study ways in which forager versus farmer lifeways affected human odonto-skeletal remains. The main aim of our study is to understand palaeodietary patterns and their changes over time as reflected in teeth. These analyses involve a review of metrics and oral pathologies, micro-fossils preserved in the mineralized dental plaque, macrowear, and buccal microwear. Our results suggest that these complementary approaches support the assumption about a critical change in dental conditions and status with the introduction of Neolithic foodstuff and habits. However, we warn that different methodologies applied here provide data at different scales of resolution for detecting such changes and a multipronged approach to the study of dental collections is needed for a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of diachronic changes.