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Dalia PokuttaForskare

Om mig

I graduated from archaeology at the Dept. of Archaeology Jagiellonian University in Cracow in 2005. A year earlier I completed Master degree in history at the same university. Although I have a solid background in many areas of Central European Prehistory and archaeological theory, my principal area of interest, as well as my recent research, has been in the field of isotopic analyses of prehistoric diet and mobility. My dissertation, entitled "Population Dynamics, Diet and Migrations of the Unetice Culture in Poland" presents the beginnings of the Bronze Age in Central Europe from palaeodemographic and bioarchaeological perspective, based on the results of isotopic analysis of human and animal remains dating back to the Early Bronze Age (2200-1600 B.C; over 300 specimens). It was published in 2013 in Sweden.

Portions of the dissertation that I have presented at conferences have been well-received, and I anticipate developing the topic further in future. My other research interests include Early Modern Age populations and death rituals in Renaissance Europe. Recently I investigated graves of Renaissance convicts and criminals from Poland, and practices such as decapitations, torture and dismemberment. In 2014 I carried out isotopic analyses and examine the skeletal remains of 12 offenders decapitated in XV-XVI century A.D. in Gliwice. A year later I participated in excavations of Bedhlem cemetery in central London (with Museum of London Archaeology). Bedhlem Royal Hospital was Europe’s first mental asylum founded in 1247.  Historically it was representative of the worst excesses of asylums in the era of lunacy reform. Dramatic history of this infamous institution has strengthened my scientific interests in archaeology of early Modern Age Europe.

Currently I am engaged in several isotopic and bioarchaeological projects with special focus on prehistoric mobility and strontium isotopes. One of them is regarding the Verteba Cave and underground sanctuaries of the Eneolithic Tripolye culture (materials derive from Ukraine; project runs in co-operation with Polish Academy of Sciences and Archaeological Museum in Cracow). I am engaged also in isotopic investigation of mobility among nomadic aristocracy in Central Asia during the Iron Age (Altai Isotopic Project; in collaboration with the Jagiellonian University in Cracow and Russian Academy of Sciences branch Siberia).


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • Bioarchaeology of Social Inequality in the Unetice Culture

    2015. Dalia Anna Pokutta (et al.). Forging Identities: the Mobility of Culture in Bronze Age Europe, 111-119


    The barrow in Kąty Wrocławskie was discovered near the city of Wrocław, SW Poland, in 1998. This paper presents the results collated from excavations, isotopic analyses (13C/15N), radiocarbon dating and lipid analyses of organic residues, found in this tomb. Social ranking/hierarchy shaped the lifestyle and identities, be they either individual or collective, upon which ultimately rigid or more flexible forms of stratification were built. However, archaeological debate regarding social inequality and leadership in the Unetice Culture is frequently reduced to bronze halberds, gold and the Leubingen barrow. We seek to determine the scale of social diversity among members of Early Bronze Age society. In this paper we present the biological profiles of the first group of Uneticean aristocracy buried in princely graves.

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  • Bronze Age population dynamics and its impact on modern Eurasian genetic structure

    2015. Morten E. Allentoft, Dalia Pokutta, Eske Willerslev. Nature 522, 167-172


    The Bronze Age of Eurasia (around 3000–1000 BC) was a period of major cultural changes. However, there is debate about whether these changes resulted from the circulation of ideas or from human migrations, potentially also facilitating the spread of languages and certain phenotypic traits. We investigated this by using new, improved methods to sequence low-coverage genomes from 101 ancient humans from across Eurasia. We show that the Bronze Age was a highly dynamic period involving large-scale population migrations and replacements, responsible for shaping major parts of present-day demographic structure in both Europe and Asia. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesized spread of Indo-European languages during the Early Bronze Age. We also demonstrate that light skin pigmentation in Europeans was already present at high frequency in the Bronze Age, but not lactose tolerance, indicating a more recent onset of positive selection on lactose tolerance than previously thought.

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  • Children, Childhood and Food

    2015. Dalia Anna Pokutta, Rachel Howcroft. Forging Identities: the mobility of culture in Bronze Age Europe, 245-252


    Dietary habits are a means by which social identity is expressed and negotiated and the foods consumed by children reflect both the social status of being a child and membership within other social groups that would eventually come to shape adult identity. Study of the diets of children in prehistory can, thus, provide information about the construction of childhood in the past and also about the perpetuation and negotiation of social structures. In this study, carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis was used to investigate the diets of subadults in the Únětice Culture of southwestern Poland. The results show that diets differed quite substantially between individuals, however diet changed very little during the lifetimes of each individual. This indicates that an individual’s social position was ascribed early in life and remained constant thereafter.

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  • Food and cooking in the Unetice Culture

    2014. Dalia Pokutta. Apulum (Acta Musei Apulensis) 51, 135-159


    Food comprises an intrinsic part of our cultural profile. It encompasses everything that is important to people; it marks social differences and strengthens social bonds. Common to all people, yet it can signify very different things from table to table. In this paper I focus on food culture in Early Bronze Age Central Europe, with special reference to classic phase of the Únětice Culture, covering the territories of modern Germany, western Poland and Czech Republic approximately 1900-1700 B.C. While the results of recently completed isotopic analyses of diet (13C,15N) will be published in separate publication, this article covers culturally-based aspects of cooking, seasoning, lipid analyses of pottery, drinking habits and sweets consumption.

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  • Journey to murder. Atypical graves of immigrants in the Early Bronze Age Europe.

    2014. Dalia Pokutta. Sprawozdania Archeologiczne 66, 91-100


    Migrations had important effects on Bronze Age economy, adaptation of new inventions and technological cohesion, however their impact upon society remains under-studied. The knowledge of how individual longdistance mobility affected various forms of societal interaction is limited and fragmented, especially when it comes to murder.

    In archaeology the analyses of criminality encounter massive obstacles due to unknowable character of crimes, victims and social contexts of these. In this paper we present new data and results of isotopic analyses (14C, 87Sr/86Sr, 15N/13C) of the four individuals discovered in the mass grave in Milejowice, SW Poland, and associated with the Unetice Culture (2200–1700 BC). Our data indicate the presence of immigrants from other parts of Europe in prehistoric Silesia and shed a new light upon likely nature of crimes in the Bronze Age society.

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