Transhumant pastoral economies and livestock mobility in the uplands of Iron Age western Sicily. Strontium isotope analyses on livestock from Monte Iato. 

In addition to modern forms of livestock and pasture farming, transhumance - seasonal migratory grazing - is still widespread in the mountainous hinterland of Sicily. This practice of pastoral agriculture, however, has a tradition dating back thousands of years that has hardly been researched so far. Based on archaeozoological and -botanical investigations, this gap will be closed using the case study of the hilltop settlement on Monte Iato in western Sicily. By means of strontium isotope analyses of animal teeth of cattle, sheep/goat and pig, the aim is to investigate livestock husbandry strategies of the settlement as well as to infer the catchment areas of the sacrificial animals slaughtered at the cult site within the settlement. The high-resolution laser ablation technique allows hundreds of isotope measurements per millimeter to be made, revealing areas of origin of livestock and their movements over seasonal periods.


For a description of the research projects (german) click here


Principal Investigator:

MMag. Dr. Birgit Öhlinger


Department of Archaeologies
Innrain 52a, 4th Floor
6020 Innsbruck

University/Research Institution:

Department of Archaeologies
Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck

funded by the Mountain Agriculture Research Unit and the Land Tirol 

Project collaborations:

Prof. Gerhard Forstenpointner, Institute for Morphology, Department of Archaeozoology and Comparative Morphology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna

Prof. Alistair Pike, Departement Archaeology, University of Southampton

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