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Grupe, Gisela; Klaut, Dominika; Otto, Larissa; Mauder, Markus; Lohrer, Johannes; Kroeger, Peer and Lang, Amei (2020): The genesis and spread of the early Fritzens-Sanzeno culture (5th/4th cent. BCE) - Stable isotope analysis of cremated and uncremated skeletal finds. In: Journal of Archaeological Science-Reports, Vol. 29, 102121

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Around 450 BCE, the Fritzens-Sanzeno culture emerged as a fairly uniform culture to the south of the European Alps and inneralpine regions along the Inn-Eisack-Adige-Brenner passage, a transalpine route that had been in use since the Mesolithic. By the Iron Age, an efficient communication network across the Alps enabling quick culture transfer was established since long. The open question remains as to whether the spread of this culture was due to migration or acculturation processes. 92 human individual skeletons, most of them cremated, were sampled from archaeological sites along the alpine transect. A multi-isotope fingerprint consisting of Sr-87/Sr-86, (208)pb/(204)pb, (207)pb/(204)pb, (206)pb/(204)pb, (208)pb/(207)pb, (206)pb/Pb-207 was established on compact bone samples, and the structure of this multidimensional data-set was evaluated by Gaussian Mixture Model clustering. Resulting clusters firmly reflect the geographical location of the sites of recovery and identified archaeological conspicuous burials as primarily non-local individuals. Strontium stable isotopes were of greatest importance for provenancing migrants. The clusters are also capable of identifying mixed isotopic ratios in early immigrants with a high probability. Lead stable isotopes of all individuals are compatible with the isotopic signatures of the inneralpine copper ores that were heavily exploited that time. This similarity with regard to Pb, and the fact that non-local individuals were only detected at sites that had served as former rest stations along the transect, supports the hypothesis that the spread of the Fritzens-Sanzeno culture resulted from an intensification of contacts rather than migration.

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