search this blog

Loading...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Polish "Goths" enjoyed their millet, while Polish "Vikings" did not


As far as I know, this thesis from the Ohio State University is the first study on dietary changes in what is now Poland from the Neolithic to the Medieval period.

Interestingly, Wielbark culture "Goths" really enjoyed their millet. On the other hand, purported Viking settlers along the Vistula seemed to have largely stuck to their Scandinavian eating habits, almost snubbing millet outright in the process. Why is this important, you might ask? Well...

The human samples studied here show evidence for consumption of millet, a uniquely Slavic cultigen in Europe that may be useful in studying Slavic migrations. My stable isotope data track millet consumption in Poland back to the Neolithic period (approximately 2,000 BC).

...

Millet was cultivated in Poland since the Neolithic, but increased significantly in the Roman Era (Wasylikowka et al. 1991: 227). Millet is common among Slavic populations and has been documented in Southern and Eastern Europe by numerous paleobotanical (Polcyn 2002; Pyrgała 1970; Rösch et al. 1992; Wasylikowa et al. 1991; Zohary and Hopf 1988) and stable isotope investigations (Le Huray and Schutkowski 2005; Murray and Schoeninger 1988; Reitsema et al. 2010). Stable isotope studies in Western Europe (e.g.: Netherlands and Britain) indicate an absence of millet in human diet during and preceding the medieval period (Randsborg 1985; Richards et al. 2006; Schutkowski et al. 1999). This East-West dichotomy suggests Slavs had a cultural preference for millet (Dembińska 1999).


The Roman-era cemetery at Rogowo was excavated in 1999 and 2000. The cemetery includes 137 inhumation and 151 cremation burials (Fig. 4.2). Biritual cemeteries such as this are characteristic of the Wielbark culture, which occupied Poland during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. It is possible that Wielbark populations were one of several referred to by the Romans as “Goths” (Heather 1996). It is also possible that the Wielbark are early Slavs from which modern Slavs are descended (for discussion, see Piontek 2006).

...

The δ13C values from Rogowo indicate millet contributed between 0% and 35% to overall diet, depending on the individual. The fact that δ13C and δ15N values are not positively correlated also supports an interpretation of direct millet consumption, rather than marine fish, anadromous fish or C4-foddered animal consumption.

...

Data from Murray and Schoeninger (1988) represent an Iron Age population from Slovenia that consumed terrestrial plant and animal resources with a C4 signal. This C4 signal is either via direct consumption of millet, or via consumption of animals foddered on millet. Data from LeHuray and Schutkowski (2005) represent two La Tène populations from the modern day Czech Republic, and individuals from Hallstatt sites in Austria. Data from Tafuri et al. (2009) represent another diet with a C4 signal from Bronze Age Italy.

Comparing European samples, δ15N values among the Slovenian, Czech and Polish samples are very similar, ranging from approximately 8.5‰ to 11.0‰. The δ13Ccoll values at Rogowo are intermediate, but more closely resemble values from La Tene Czech individuals with low millet consumption than values from Iron Age Slovenia with high millet consumption. This suggests a terrestrial-based diet including millet at Rogowo.

...

On closer examination of the collagen data from Kałdus site 4, there seem to be two groups of data points that I emphasize by separating them with an otherwise arbitrary line in Figure 7.9. One of these arbitrary clusters plots near data from Viking and medieval Sweden representing populations that reportedly consumed C3 and marine foods, but no millet (Kosiba et al. 2007). The Swedish population is also pictured in Figure 7.9 where it is clearly distinct from the millet-consuming Kałdus population.


Like individual K4-13A-M, individual K4-60-M was buried with a bronze bowl at his feet, an element of Scandinavian style burials (Biermann 2008; Chudziak 2003). Interestingly, his δ13Cap signature was next to the lowest at Kałdus site 4 (-14.05‰) and one of only two to indicate a diet devoid of millet. This suggests he had migrated from Scandinavia, where millet is not documented in diet during the medieval period (Eriksson et al. 2008; Kjellström et al. 2009; Kosiba et al. 2007; Liden and Nelson 1994; Linderholm et al. 2008; Wasylikowa et al. 1991). The other individual with very low δ13C isotope signatures at Kałdus site 4 is K4-192-F. This female may also have migrated from a region where millet was not consumed. Another single burial exhibiting Scandinavian elements is individual K4-101-F, who was interred in a wooden chamber. Like K4-60-M, her isotope values also suggest no or very little millet.

Of course, only high-resolution ancient DNA from these remains will be able to confirm whether they belonged to settlers of Scandinavian origin. However, based on the stable isotope results I don't hold out much hope for the Wielbark Culture skeletons from Rogowo showing any explicit genetic links to Scandinavia. On the other hand, it seems as if those Viking-like burials from Kaldus really did belong to Vikings.

Reference...

Laurie Jean Reitsema, Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Analysis of Human Diet Change in Prehistoric and Historic Poland, Dissertation, The Ohio State University, 2012.

See also...

First direct evidence of genetic continuity in West and Central Poland from the Iron Age to the present


11 comments:

Fanty said...

Hm, interesting.
What about the other suposedly Germanic tribes that are said to have lived in Poland? Like the Vandals and Burgundians?

Davidski said...

Honestly, I doubt there were any Germanics in Poland prior to the Viking mercenaries who settled there during the Medieval period.

Fanty said...

Question is, where are these "Eastern Germanic" tribes from?

One thing is strange anyways: The eastern Germanic tribes are not part of the Mannus myth.

That myth says: The son of "Tiu the skygod" named "Tuisto" (means "son of Tiu") had a son named "Mannus" (Latinized version of "Mann" = man, human) who again had 3 sons from whom all the Germanic tribes come.

Ingo, fathered the tribes at the northsea coast. Irmin fathered the tribes from the Rhine.And Suevo fathered the tribes of eathern Germany and Bavaria.

I always wondered why the myth doesnt contain eastern Germanic tribes (well, it does also not contain northern Germanic ones aswell....but those eastern Germanics should have been neighbours.

Artek said...

This seems to be as another nail to the coffin for Kossinna allochtonists.

Polako, do you know if those guys from "The Rise" project made any progress? I'm thinking of the leaks about a results.

Davidski said...

^ I was told they ran preliminary tests on the samples and found quite a few of them had good ancient DNA preservation. Now they're running the main analysis, but that will take a while yet.

wenedanin said...

Po prostu, plemion germańskich tzw. wschodnich nie było.
Wystarczy wziąć mapę z plemionami słowiańskimi i przeanalizować ją z nazwami niby plemion germańskich, i już mamy odpowiedzi na niektóre pytania - nic więcej, i to tylko tyle? Czy aż tyle?
http://koszalin7.pl/img/pomorze/slowianie/obodry_01.jpg

Artek said...

@Wenedanin

Trzeba jednak poczekać na twardsze dowody. Sam jestem za autochtonizmem, ale starajmy się być obiektywni. Bez wykrycia odpowiednich ilości R1a-M458/Z280 w wykopkach można tylko gdybać jak Tacyt w dziele "Germania"(który twierdził, że Lugiowie są Germanami bo budują domy i walczą pieszo)

wenedanin said...

Artek
czekam, i doczekać się nie mogę.
Z DnaY może być pewien kłopot z poprzednich tysiącleci - adekwatność szczątków ludzkich do populacji występującej w danej chwili nikt nie zmierzy i nie zważy, choć statystycznie rzecz ujmując jest to prawidło. Chyba wiesz, że z biegiem ostatnich lat powstanie etnosu germańskiego stale jest obniżana już nawet do III wieku pne., więc niczego innego raczej się nie spodziewam, oczywiście oprócz Celtów i Słowian w pasie dolnej Łaby.

Alex Weissman said...

Personally I'm seriously doubting that Vandals,Goths etc were Germanic or Scandinavian.
I've read that most dna found in Spain and Italy (eg Sardinia) closely resembles Polish DNA and South Slavic.
I would not be surprised if the Huns were also proto-slavic as they came off the Ukrainian plains and the few words we have point to Slavonic origins which has been constantly overlooked be historians.

Davidski said...

Poles really aren't very similar to any modern southern Europeans.

Maybe you're thinking of the Iberian Mesolithic hunter-gatherer La Brana-1?

http://polishgenes.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/poles-more-indigenous-to-europe-than.html

Alex Weissman said...

Yes you are probably right,but at any rate ancient sites in Poland are probably just that a continuation the modern peoples in that area. Most likely the theory of mass tribal migrations during the early middle ages is just myth.
But I stand by my Hunnic comment I hope that does not offend anyone.