First isotope analysis and new radiocarbon dating of Trypillia (Tripolye) farmers from Verteba Cave, Bilche Zolote, Ukraine

  • Malcolm C. Lillie School of Environmental Sciences - Geography University of Hull
  • Chelsea E. Budd Research Laboratory for Archaeology & the History of Art, University of Oxford, Dyson Perrins Building, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, England
  • Inna D. Potekhina Department of Bioarchaeology, Institute of Archaeology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev 04210, Pr. Geroiv Stalingradu 12, Ukraine
  • Douglas Price Laboratory for Archaeological Chemistry, 1180 Observatory Drive, University of Wisconsin Madison, WI 53706-1393, USA
  • Mykhailo Sokhatsky Verteba Excavation Director, Borschiv Regional Museum, Ministry of Culture and Arts of Ukraine, Podillya Region, 48702, Ukraine
  • Alexey G. Nikitin Biology Department of Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, 49401, USA
Keywords: Trypillia farming culture, AMS dating, radiogenic isotopes, stable isotopes, diet

Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of human and animal remains from Verteba cave, near Bilche Zolote, western Ukraine. This study was prompted by a paucity of direct dates on this material and the need to contextualise these remains in relation both to the transition from hunting and gathering to farming in Ukraine, and their specific place within the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture sequence. The new absolute dating places the remains studied here in Trypillia stages BII/CI at c. 3900–3500 cal BC, with one individual now redated to the Early Scythian period. As such, these finds are even more exceptional than previously assumed, being some of the earliest discovered for this culture. The isotope analyses indicate that these individuals are local to the region, with the dietary stable isotopes indicating a C3 terrestrial diet for the Trypillia-period humans analysed. The Scythian period individual has δ13C ratios indicative of either c. 50% marine, or alternatively C4 plant inputs into the diet, despite δ18O and 87Sr/86Sr ratios that are comparable to the other individuals studied.

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Author Biographies

Malcolm C. Lillie, School of Environmental Sciences - Geography University of Hull

Professor: Prehistoric Archaeology & Wetland Science

SoES: Geography

Chelsea E. Budd, Research Laboratory for Archaeology & the History of Art, University of Oxford, Dyson Perrins Building, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, England
Independent Researcher - Dr.
Inna D. Potekhina, Department of Bioarchaeology, Institute of Archaeology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev 04210, Pr. Geroiv Stalingradu 12, Ukraine
Dr.
Douglas Price, Laboratory for Archaeological Chemistry, 1180 Observatory Drive, University of Wisconsin Madison, WI 53706-1393, USA
Professor Emeritus
Alexey G. Nikitin, Biology Department of Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, 49401, USA
Professor
Published
2018-01-04
How to Cite
Lillie, M., Budd, C., Potekhina, I., Price, D., Sokhatsky, M., & Nikitin, A. (2018). First isotope analysis and new radiocarbon dating of Trypillia (Tripolye) farmers from Verteba Cave, Bilche Zolote, Ukraine. Documenta Praehistorica, 44, 306-325. https://doi.org/10.4312/dp.44.18
Section
Articles