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Agriculture Quickly Ousted Fishing

From this week's New Scientist (reporting on a story in Nature vol 425)

'Neolithic people quickly rejected fishing in favour of agriculture, an analysis of ancient British diets has revealed.

The accepted view was that converting to farming was so complex it took 1000 years to make the change. But Michael Richards at the university of Bradford and his team have found evidence that the switch to a farmed diet happened much more quickly right across Britain.

They analysed the ratio of carbon isotopes in bone collagen from 164 early Neolithic skeletons between 4500 and 5200 years old, and 19 skeletons dating from 5200 to 9000 years ago. The isotope ratio revealed whether the people lived primarily on fish or terrestrial animals.

Before the change, 5200 yrs ago, there was a mix of diets but within 200 years all the Neolithic people had begun to eat food grown on land, suggesting that farming quickly won out over fishing.'

Rather raises some questions about where the skeletons were from, what ratio of farming:fish you decide means they had switched, etc... might be worth looking at the original article?
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
1st October 2003ce
Edited 1st October 2003ce

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