Anthropol Anz. 1987 Dec; 45(4): 361-70.
Palaenutritional studies on skeletal remains of ancient populations from the Mediterranean area: an attempt to interpretation.
Istituto e Museo di Anatomia e Istologia Patologica, UniversitÃ di Pisa, Italy.
As indicators of dietary status, standardised levels of strontium and zinc in specimens of bones from several prehistoric and historic sites in Europe are compared. The bone level of strontium reflects the vegetable intake in the diet, the level of zinc that of foods of animal origin. The large quantities of plants in the diet of palaeolitic hunters gave way in the mesolithic to an almost exclusively vegetarian diet, but then an increase in meat consumption in the neolithic. Agricultural economies characterised classical Greece and Rome, but the big towns were able to maintain a mixed diet. In the early centuries AD there was a decline in agricultural consumption.