Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Matt Sponheimer

Second Advisor

Dennis Van Gerven

Third Advisor

Michelle Sauther


Stable isotope analysis of hair was used to investigate the dietary patterns of individuals from the Christian period Sudanese Nubian site of Kulubnarti, taking into consideration established patterns of health. Over three decades of research has shown consistent differences between two cemetery populations, believed to represent diachronic periods of use. In this study, carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios were analyzed to reconstruct aspects of diet, while oxygen and hydrogen isotope ratios were analyzed to evaluate the belief that S cemetery dates to the Early Christian period (A.D. 600-850), while the R cemetery dates to the Late Christian period (A.D. 1100-1400). These isotopic data suggest that diets were very similar between the two populations, and therefore did not directly cause the observed differential patterns of stress. Oxygen and hydrogen isotopic data supports the diachronicity of the two cemeteries, an idea which has been called into question by a recent textile analysis.