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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Research Postgraduates

Publication details for Professor Janet Montgomery

Nehlich, O., Montgomery, J., Evans, J., Schade-Lindig, S., Pichler, S.L., Richards, M.P. & Alt, K.W. (2009). Mobility or migration: a case study from the Neolithic settlement of Nieder-Mörlen (Hessen, Germany). Journal Of Archaeological Science 36(8): 1791-1799.

Author(s) from Durham


A combination of stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of collagen and radiogenic strontium isotope analysis of tooth enamel was used to investigate diet and mobility at the early Neolithic settlement of Nieder-Mörlen in Germany. The carbon and nitrogen ratios suggest a mixed terrestrial based diet that is consistent with data previously published for early Neolithic sites in Europe. The strontium isotope data indicate a high degree of human mobility with only one individual having an isotope ratio consistent with locally derived strontium. Unusually, a group of non-local juveniles with isotope ratios typical of upland regions is also present at the settlement but there are no adult burials with such values. Whilst transhumance is considered as an explanation, it would not explain why these non-local juveniles lived foreshortened lives and other possible mechanisms are therefore discussed.