Sidon on the breadth of the wild sea: Movement and diet on the Mediterranean coast in the Middle Bronze Age.

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    • Abstract:
      Objectives: Excavations at Sidon (Lebanon) have revealed dual identities during the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 2000–1600 BCE): a maritime port and center for local distribution, as well as a settlement with a heavy subsistence dependence on the extensive inland hinterlands. We aim to investigate residential mobility at Sidon using isotopic analyses of 112 individuals from 83 burials (20 females, 26 males, and 37 subadults). Veneration and remembrance of the dead is evident from funerary offerings in and near the tombs. With marine fish a major component in funerary offerings, we predict major marine reliance in this coastal population. Materials and methods: New isotopic evidence of paleomobility (87Sr/86Sr, δ18O) and diet (δ13Ccarbonate) is the focus of this research. Previous bulk bone collagen δ13C and δ15N analysis is strengthened by further sampling, along with δ34S where collagen yield was sufficient. Results: The five non‐locals identified (8.9% of the 56 analyzed) come from constructed tombs with high‐status grave goods except for one, which was heavily disturbed in antiquity. Dietary investigation of the population confirms reliance on terrestrial resources with no significant marine input. No significant differences in diet between the sexes or burial types are present. Conclusions: Although Sidon was part of a growing Mediterranean network evidenced through artefactual finds, relatively low immigration is evident. While religious feasts venerating the dead may have involved significant piscine components, no appreciable marine input in diet is observed. Fish may have been reserved for the deceased or only consumed on feast days alongside the dead rather than a regular part of the Bronze Age menu. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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