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Anthropometric methods and the interdisciplinary conversation between archaeology and economics

Koepke, Nikola ; Baten, Joerg

In: Posluschny, A. ; Lambers, K. ; Herzog, I. (Hrsgg.): Layers of Perception. Proceedings of the 35th International Conference on Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA), Berlin, 2.-6. April 2007. Koll. Vor- u. Frühgesch. 10. Bonn 2008, pp. 345-352

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In this paper we use possibilities of interdisciplinary work between archaeology and economics, focusing on the development of European living standard in terms of nutritional status in long-run perspective (1st to 18th century AD), and its determinants. We applied anthropometric methods using a data set of nearly 9500 human height measurements as proxy for mean nutritional status, and a data set of more than 2 million animal bones to measure the impact of changes in cattle production. Milk cattle husbandry, interacted with sparse population density, has had positive effects on mean height: (1) Proximity to protein production resulted in a low local shadow price of milk, as it could not be transported over distances. (2) This low price resulted in a low inequality of nutritional status; in contrast pork induced nutritional inequality, because it could be preserved and traded, thus becoming expensive and affordable only for the rich.

Document type: Book Section
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2010 13:53
Faculties / Institutes: Research Project, Working Group > Individuals
DDC-classification: Alte Geschichte, Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Archäologie
Controlled Keywords: Archäologie, Informatik, Computerunterstütztes Verfahren, Computervisualistik, Interdisziplinäre Forschung, Anthropologie, Anthropometrie
Subject (classification):
History of the ancient world to ca. 499