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Paleodietary Reconstruction, Modern Techniques in

The remote human past is explored through an expanding set of scientific techniques that target “invisible” archaeological evidence. Such evidence is often related to food-processing activities and food consumption in prehistory. Developments in disciplines such as biochemistry and genetics allow increasingly detailed reconstructions of prehistoric diets and dietary change. The new data sets provide insights that complement more traditional types of archaeological evidence such as animal bones, plant remains, and material culture items.

Many of the new techniques have been applied to questions about the transition from foraging to food production in prehistory. As a result, a paradigm shift is under way in the scientific understanding of this transition. At the same time, public interest in ancient diets has intensified, fueled by contemporary issues such as ...

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