Academy of Finland  
Funding decision
Organisation University of Oulu
Project title Breastfeeding, weaning, and nutrition in Post-medieval Finland. Nitrogen and carbon stable isotope analyses of dentin collagen
Applicant / Contact person Väre, Tiina
Decision No. 323428
Decision date 26.04.2019
Funding period 01.03.2020 - 28.02.2023
Funding 224 178
Project description
In the 18th–19th century clergymen expressed concerns over mothers not nursing their infants and attributed the massive child mortality of the time to this. This project examines these claims in light of archaeological evidence to explore whether their concerns were justified or the result of upper-class moralistic views of lower-class women. Still as adults, our teeth can tell whether we were breastfed, while our bones reveal our diet during the past decade. Using nitrogen and carbon stable isotope analyses of dentin and bone collagen and drawing on a diverse range of three post-medieval archaeological skeletal populations, this project reveals historical breastfeeding practices and nutrition of coastal Finland. The diversity of the samples enables to examine changes across space and time. Moreover, the connection is observed between the occurrence of enamel hypoplasia caused by childhood nutrition or health stress and the lack of nursing to conclude about its relevance to health.