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New AMS Dates for Verteba Cave and Stable Isotope Evidence of Human Diet in The Holocene Forest-Steppe, Ukraine

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 July 2018

Sarah H Ledogar*
New York State Museum, Albany, NY, USA Department of Anthropology, University at Albany, Albany, NY, USA Department of Archaeology and Paleoanthropology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia
Jordan K Karsten
Department of Religious Studies and Anthropology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Oshkosh, WI, USA
Gwyn D Madden
Department of Anthropology, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan, USA
Ryan Schmidt
School of Archaeology, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Mykhailo P Sokohatskyi
Borshchiv Regional Museum of Local Lore, Borshchiv, Ternopil O’blast, Ukraine
Robert S Feranec
New York State Museum, Albany, NY, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:


Excavations at several locations in Verteba Cave have uncovered a large amount of human skeletal remains in association with faunal bones and Tripolye material culture. We aim to establish radiocarbon (14C) dates for eight sites and to evaluate whether these deposits are singular events, or slow accumulations over time. 14C measurements, along with stable carbon and nitrogen isotope data from human and faunal remains, were collected from 18 specimens. Stable isotope values were used to evaluate human and animal diet, and whether freshwater reservoir effects offset measured dates. We found diets of the sampled species had limited to no influence from freshwater resources. Human diet appears to be dominated by terrestrial plants and herbivores. Four new sites were identified as Eneolithic. Comparisons of dates from top and bottom strata for two sites (7 and 20) reveal coeval dates, and we suggest that these deposits represent discrete events rather than slow continuous use. Lastly, we identified dates from the Mesolithic (8490±45 BP, 8765±30 BP), Iron Age (2505±20 BP), Slavic state era (1315±25 BP), and Medieval Period (585±15 BP), demonstrating periodic use of the cave by humans prior to and after the Eneolithic.

Research Article
Radiocarbon , Volume 61 , Issue 1 , February 2019 , pp. 141 - 158
© 2018 by the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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