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8 November 2016
Teeth reveal Britons were highly mobile 4,000 years ago

Archaeologists have created a new database from the teeth of prehistoric humans found at ancient burial sites in Britain and Ireland that tell us a lot about their climate, their diet and even how far they may have travelled. In a paper, led by Doctor Maura Pellegrini from the University of Oxford, researchers say that individuals in prehistoric Britain were highly mobile.
     the study is part of the international Beaker People project lead by Professor Mike Parker Pearson of University College London, involving scientists from many academic institutions. The paper says most of the teeth in the collection date to the Copper and Early Bronze Age periods (2500 BCE to 1500 BCE), and suggests not only were people moving around their own country but they may also have travelled to and from continental Europe.
     Tests on fragments of tooth enamel provide evidence of where an individual spent their childhood.
     Analysis of 261 teeth of those buried in the Stonehenge region, the Peak District, and the hills of the Yorkshire Wolds shows many were not local to their final resting place. They were drawn from far and wide, sometimes to focal points containing sacred monuments. The variability in the isotope values was found to be particularly marked in individuals recovered from Woodhenge, a timber circle situated near Stonehenge; Bee Low, a Bronze Age round cairn in the Peak District, and Garton Slack in Yorkshire where there is a complex range of barrow types and burial practices.

Edited from PhysOrg (7 October 2016)

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