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Greek Sicily, necropolis, social hierarchy, stable isotope analysis, carbon, nitrogen

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The study and reconstruction of ancient dietary habits has become a very significant topic in archaeological research. Most chemical analysis studies for diet at Greek sites are limited to prehistory, with very few examples of studies for the Classical period. This paper represents a pilot study of stable isotope analysis carried out on a group of 15 individuals selected among the population interred in the Archaic necropolis of Scala Greca at Syracuse (Sicily), a cemetery discovered in 2010-2011. Based on the funerary assemblages and certain features such as shape, dimensions, coverage system and architectural features, a preliminary distinction has been made based on apparent wealth on a diagnostic sample of 15 tombs to test possible variations in diet. Carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses were conducted on bone collagen, which represents dietary protein, and bone apatite, which represents the whole diet. The highly negative collagen carbon isotope values indicate little if any seafood in the diet, and this is supported by the nitrogen isotope modest values, which are consistent with terrestrial foods and do not suggest higher trophic level fish.

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STAR: Science & Technology of Archaeological Research, v. 3, issue 2, p. 466-477