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Scientists analyzed the bone material of 105 people, who lived between 5000 and 500 BC.
An international team of researchersrebuilt the diet of Bronze Age shepherds from the mountains and steppes of the North Caucasus, in southern Russia, the German Archaeological Institute reported last week.
Scientists studied the isotopic composition of carbon and nitrogen in collagen in bone material from 105 people, who livedbetween 5000 and 500 BC., and then compared it with the isotope ratios in bone collagen from 50 animals and local vegetation from that period. The analysis made it possible to identify the main foods they ate, says a recent study, published in the journal PLOS ONE.
According to the results,meat, milk and dairy products they formed a large part of the staple diet of these communities, but were also supplemented with wild plants. It wasn't until the end of the Bronze Age that their diet began to be based more on cultivated grains, with millet supposedly the main crop.
In addition, the scientists came to the conclusion that the diet of the North Caucasian shepherds was based mainly on food from the territory where their remains were found. «The communities apparentlyremained within their respective ecological areas and they did not change between steppes, forest steppes or higher regions, ”said Sandra Pichler, a researcher at the University of Basel (Switzerland) and one of the authors of the study.
An unexpected conclusion
Pichler noted that the study results revealed that "Caucasian communities were not very mobile and they did not undertake large-scale migrations, suggesting that the revolutionary technical innovations of the 4th and 3rd millennium BC 'were not transmitted to Europe from this territory.
If the shepherds of the time only moved short distances, the knowledge of technologies - metal weapons, bronze processing, chariots and the domestication of horses -could have been passed from one group to another by word of mouth until reaching the European part.
Until now, specialists assumed that this technology transfer was based on the long-distance migrations and business contacts of these nomadic pastoralist communities, and that this mobility connected the Middle East with Europe.