Diet in Mesolithic Europe: New evidence from dental microwear

T. Rowan McLaughlin

School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen's University Belfast, BT7 1NN, United Kingdom.

Cite this as: McLaughlin, T.R. 2007 Diet in Mesolithic Europe: New evidence from dental microwear, Internet Archaeology 22.


Palaeodietary reconstruction is a key to understanding Mesolithic lifeways. Dental microwear analysis is a tool for investigating palaeodiet using microscopic tooth wear patterns. In this study, dental microwear analysis was performed on both Mesolithic and Neolithic human individuals from Brittany, southern Britain and the northern Irish Sea region. The analysis evidences significant differences between Mesolithic and Neolithic diet among the population samples studied, suggesting that different foodstuffs were consumed by the two groups, or that food preparation methods were different. Microwear at Cnoc Coig in Oronsay is dominated by large features. Overall variability in microwear is higher among Mesolithic populations, a finding that provides tentative evidence that Mesolithic diet was more varied than Neolithic diet.

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