Persisting patterns of human height? Regional differences in living standards in the Early Middle Ages
Economics & Human Biology, 2018, vol. 29, issue C, 148-167
öProximity to protein production’ has recently been identified as an important determinant of regional variation of biological standards of living, as evidenced by average heights. The number of cows per person turned out to be a useful proxy where milk consumption had not been documented. Re-analyses of agricultural production and average male heights in early 19th-century central Europe show that indicators of agricultural suitability and potential for food production constructed from modern agro-ecological data are strongly correlated with historical agricultural specialisation. This paper uses a dataset of estimated heights and evidence on circumstances of the burial of about 2200 individuals who had lived in southwestern Germany during the 5th–8th centuries to assess the usefulness of modern proxy variables for explanations of regional differences in living standards in the distant past. Assuming some continuity in the relative suitability of smaller areas, the results suggest similar responses to environmental and climatic constraints, even though population density, agricultural technology, market integration, and consumption patterns of subsistence farming were very different from 19th-century conditions.
Keywords: Biological standard of living; Skeletal evidence; Early Middle Ages; Conscripts; Proximity to protein production; Suitability for agriculture (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:29:y:2018:i:c:p:148-167
Access Statistics for this article
Economics & Human Biology is currently edited by J. Komlos, Inas R Kelly and Joerg Baten
More articles in Economics & Human Biology from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().