Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Peace in the Balkans

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

LEPENSKI VIR, SERBIA—Analysis of the strontium levels in the teeth of 153 skeletons from nine sites along the Danube River suggests that some Mesolithic hunter-gatherers and early Neolithic farmers mingled 8,200 years ago. For many years, the hunter-gatherers fished in the Danube and traded for marine shells with other hunter-gatherers. Their teeth reflect the composition of the river sediments. By the time of the Late Mesolithic, however, different strontium levels were found in some of the women’s teeth, indicating that they had grown up eating a terrestrial diet. Their bones date to about the same time that Neolithic-style ornaments show up at the sites. “The forager communities were being integrated into the Neolithic social networks rather than resisting them. The picture is largely one of peaceful coexistence,” explained Dušan Borić of Cardiff University.