Exploration of the Medici Chapels in the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence, Italy, revealed the burials of nine infantile members of the Medici family. Eight children were found in the intact tomb of the last Grand Duke GianGastone (1671–1737), and another child was exhumed from the Chapel of Grand Duke Ferdinando I (1549–1609). Skeletal ages ranged from newborn to 5 years, suggesting an identification with infantile members of the family. A paleonutritional study has been performed on the bone samples of all members of the Medici family exhumed so far. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of bone collagen was used to detect the timing of the weaning process in this population. The 15N values of the Medici children are significantly higher than those of adults, indicating that these infants were breastfed for a long time period. In particular, the levels of 15N are high before the second year but decrease in older children, evidently after weaning, reaching the levels of adults. During the Renaissance, it was the common opinion that children should not be weaned before the second year of life. Archival documents suggest that the Medici children were never weaned before that age and, in most cases, even some months later. Combination of paleonutritional data and historical sources allowed reconstruction of the breastfeeding and weaning patterns of this aristocratic Renaissance class.
|Autori:||Giuffra V; Fornaciari G|
|Titolo:||Breastfeeding and Weaning in Renaissance Italy: The Medici Children|
|Anno del prodotto:||2013|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1089/bfm.2012.0060|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|