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Ancient strands of hair can reveal Iron Age diets

In the Iron Age stone tower of Cairns Broch in Orkney, Scotland, archaeologists found a 2000-year-old wooden bowl, along with 20 perfectly preserved strands of human hair.

While the bowl, which researchers believe was used to serve food or drink, can tell them something about shared meals at the ancient structure, it’s the hair that has the most potential for insight into the daily diets of its inhabitants. photo of magnified human hair Download Full Image

Kelly Knudson, a professor in Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change and director of its Center for Bioarchaeological Research, analyzed hair of similar antiquity back in 2015. She explains that “we use hair to look at diet because, quite simply, we are what we eat. By looking at how far the hair is from the scalp, we were able to look at what they were eating in particular weeks or months before they died.”

Read the full article to learn more.

Article Source:
Mikala Kass

Communications Specialist, ASU Knowledge Enterprise