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Lifeway interpretations from ancient diet in the Varna Cemetery.


Rescue excavations in the urbanized area of the Varna Bay in 2017 have brought to light 15 prehistoric burials whose grave goods and AMS dating have unequivocally related them to the famous Copper Age cemetery in Varna on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The newly excavated area was called Varna 3 and the ten AMS-dated individuals from there and 19 individuals from the Varna 1 cemetery were subjected to FRUITS modelling for the purposes of dietary reconstruction. There is no link between diet and grave deposition but differentiation in diet does exist in terms of sex. The results showed overall isotopic consistency with a small group of five outliers, among whom is a five-year-old girl with steppe aDNA ancestry, who is considered to be a migrant to the Varna area. We discuss the social implications of the dietary and aDNA results that reveal a more complex pattern than had previously been considered.

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