Exploring the Relationship Between Weaning and Infant Mortality: An Isotope Case Study from Asikli Hoyuk and Cayonu Tepesi

Pearson J. A. , Hedges R. E. M. , Molleson T. I. , Ozbek M.

AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY, cilt.143, ss.448-457, 2010 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 143 Konu: 3
  • Basım Tarihi: 2010
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1002/ajpa.21335
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.448-457


We measured stable nitrogen isotope ratios in bone collagen of 60 individuals from the early Neolithic (9th-8th millennium Cal. BC) sites of Cayonu Tepesi and Asikli Hoyuk Our aim was to identify the duration of exclusive breastfeeding (EBF), compare this with Juvenile mortality at each site, and assess whether there was a relationship between them. The isotope analysis suggests that weaning commenced at about 1 year at Asikli Hoyuk and around 2 years at Cayonu Tepesi. The mortality data show equal numbers of infant deaths up to 24 months, however, after 24 months, the mortality rate increases at Cayonu Tepesi, and a Student's t-test confirms a significant difference in infant mortality between the sites. Weaning foods prepared in the early Neolithic from agricultural crops would have had low-iron content, poor nutritional value, and would have been prepared in nonsterilized containers. Therefore, later weaned infants in early Neolithic farming settlements, although capable of some immunological response, were probably undernourished putting them at a disadvantage when encountering bacteria in their weaning food. Our results suggest that infant feeding regimes that introduced infants to weaning foods in the first year of life may have had a positive effect on their survival Am J Phys Anthropol 143 448-457, 2010. (C) 2010 Wiley-Liss. Inc