Summary and relevance of the project

The proposed research topic is intended to be a bioarchaeological approach regarding populations in a series of medieval necropoles in Greater Wallachia (14th-18th Centuries), against the background of lack of studies aiming the interaction between biology and human behaviour and the role of the environment on the health of individuals and their lifestyle. In support of a better understanding of the funeral practices and of the phenomenon of death in the Middle Ages of Greater Wallachia, the project’s goal is to anthropologically characterize the individuals from 568 funeral complexes, from eight necropoles (urban or rural, located in lower or higher geographical regions). As elements of innovation and originality, the results of the anthropological analysis (establishing the demographic profile, calculating the life expectancy at birth and the probability of death, assessing the state of health and the standard of living etc) will be correlated with various events known from historical documents (wars, natural calamities, epidemics, famines) but also with a series of information obtained from the perspective of molecular analyses. Thus, we will analyse the ratio of stable oxygen isotopes (16O and 18O), the isotopic values being considered as true chemical signatures which provides information on the mobility of individuals from the medieval period (did they died in the localities or near the localities where they were born?). Also, in conjunction with the results of archaeozoology and archaeobotanical studies, we will explore the conjugate report of two stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes (13C and 15N), present in the collagen from the bones, which provide us with valuable dietary information (the primary source origin of protein was animal, vegetable, or it was a combination of the two?). In conclusion, the bioarchaeological techniques contribute to a better understanding of the funeral practices and the phenomenon of death in the Middle Ages of Greater Wallachia.