Migration and Diets in Roman and Byzantine Turkey

This project investigates the diet and mobility of Roman and Byzantine populations at monumental sites in southwestern Turkey. The Roman and Byzantine periods in Turkey (ca. 133 BC – ca. 1453AD) are characterized by substantial societal change, including the end of the Roman Empire and the spread of Christianity. In southwestern Turkey, two World Heritage sites, Hierapolis and Ephesos (pictured above) were major centres during both of these periods. Specifically, we use stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of human bone and tooth samples from associated cemeteries to examine temporal change or continuity in the life histories of people buried at these sites, and to explore variations in diet due to differences in both sex and social status. Strontium isotope analysis is used to identify non-local individuals who, in the later period, may have been pilgrims.