Biological diversity in an Islamic archaeological population: A radiogenic strontium isotope and craniometric analysis of affinity in Ottoman Romania

Kathryn Grow Allen, Ryan D. Mills, Kelly J. Knudson, Noreen von Cramon-Taubadel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: Written accounts, as well as a previous craniometric study, indicate that migrations of non-Europeans and conversions of Europeans to Islam define Ottoman communities in Early Modern Europe. What is less clear are the roles of migration and admixture in generating intra-communal variation. This study combines craniometric with strontium isotope data to compare the cranial affinities of locally born and immigrant individuals. We predict that locally born individuals are more likely than non-locals to show evidence of admixture. Materials and Methods: Radiogenic strontium isotope data for 21 Ottomans were compared against archaeological faunal values. Sixteen individuals with intact crania were also measured and compared against two comparative source populations from Anatolia and Europe. Discriminant function analysis assigned unclassified Ottoans to either comparative group based on typicality probabilities, with potential admixture established via intermediate morphology between the two source populations. Results: Strontium isotope values revealed relatively high proportions of non-locals, consistent with high mobility documented historically. The sexes differed, with more males classifying as “typically Anatolian” than females. Locals and non-locals also had different cranial affinity patterns, with most classifying either as “typically Anatolian” or “typically European.” Contrary to expectation, none of the locals were identified as intermediate, suggesting admixture rates were relatively low. Conclusions: Consistent with historical records, the results revealed high levels of extra-regional migration, with most individuals identifiable as either typically Anatolian or European. Moreover, locals and non-locals differed craniometrically, with no signs of admixture between Anatolian migrants and European converts in locals. This suggests intra-communal divisions were maintained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-583
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican journal of physical anthropology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Islam
  • admixture
  • bioarchaeology
  • biological distance
  • geobiochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Anthropology


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