Alessandra received ETAg postdoctoral grant. University of Tartu; Stockholm University | ETAg postdoctoral grant PUTJD1177 |
The Baltic Kindergarten: Investigating non-adult health and diet in medieval and early modern Estonia through paleopathology and stable isotope analysis.
This multidisciplinary study investigates child diet, feeding practices, and disease in a large dataset of non-adults from medieval and early modern Estonia (13th-18th cent.) combining Paleopathology and Stable Isotope Analysis (SIA). This fills a large research gap, since child bioarchaeology is an understudied topic in the Baltics. Cross-sectional SIA allows reconstructing the general population diet, comparing non-survivors (child) and survivors (child/adult), and identifying the ages of breastfeeding and weaning. Incremental SIA of dentine and bone provides life-long individual dietary histories, including stress episodes. Combined with paleopathological and biomolecular data (i.e. ancient DNA), this work will offer a large-scale overview of child health and diet over 600 years, detecting the long-term impact of historical famines, epidemics, and warfare on children and caregivers. This study will spread light on human groups that were marginalized in the past, connecting with the present concept of childhood in Estonian identity.