• palaeodiet;
  • Formentera;
  • Ibiza;
  • stable isotopes;
  • Prehistoric;
  • Punic;
  • Byzantine;
  • Islamic


To examine how dietary patterns may have changed in the western Mediterranean through time, stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios were measured on extracted bone collagen from fauna (n = 75) and humans (n = 135) spanning four distinct chronological periods: Chalcolithic (c.2100–1600 BC), Punic (6th–2nd/1st century BC), Late Antiquity-Early Byzantine (4th–7th century AD), and Islamic (c.10th–13th century AD) on the islands of Ibiza and Formentera, Spain. The Chalcolithic, Punic, and Late Antiquity-Byzantine societies all showed evidence of a predominately C3 terrestrial-based diet with a possible input of a small amount of marine and/or C4 dietary resources. In contrast, the Islamic population on Ibiza had a subsistence strategy that was reliant on a significant amount of C4 plants and/or animals fed a C4 diet, likely millet. These results indicate a fairly constant C3 terrestrial-based diet on the islands of Ibiza and Formentera through time, with a shift to C4 dietary resources during the Islamic Period. Further research is needed from other Islamic populations in and around the Mediterranean to better understand this unique dietary adaptation. Am J Phys Anthropol 143:512–522, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.