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Early FarmersThe View from Archaeology and Science$
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Alasdair Whittle and Penny Bickle

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265758

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265758.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 26 May 2022

Life Conditions and Health in Early Farmers

Life Conditions and Health in Early Farmers

A Global Perspective on Costs and Consequences of a Fundamental Transition

(p.215) 12 Life Conditions and Health in Early Farmers
Early Farmers

Clark Spencer Larsen

British Academy

Human remains provide a fund of data for documenting and interpreting the quality of life, living conditions, and the costs and benefits of the foraging-to-farming transition and the dependence on domesticated food sources, especially those related to the adoption and spread of plant staples that today feed much of the world’s population, including the superfoods—wheat, rice and maize. This chapter presents comparative results of human bioarchaeological research programmes where human skeletal samples are large and well documented and where archaeological context (settlement systems, dietary reconstruction) is comprehensive: west and east Asia, Europe, and North America. These investigations reveal largely similar but variable health outcomes relating to the foraging-to-farming transition. The record shows a general picture of compromised health either with the shift from foraging to farming or with intensified farming.

Keywords:   Human remains, foraging-to-farming transition, bioarchaeology, west Asia, east Asia, Europe, North America, diet, health outcomes

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