The evolution of fishing activities is an integral part of the profound social, economic and cultural changes that have taken place in Western Europe since Antiquity. Textual sources and archaeo-ichthyology have revealed a significant development of the trade in marine species as early as the Roman period, which sharply reduced during the Early Middle Ages. This trade resumed during the Middle Ages and intensified until the modern era. However, these sources do not make it possible to document the fishing areas with any precision.
Isotopic analyses of bone collagen from remains found on archaeological sites help to overcome this limitation. The variations in environmental isotopic signatures are recorded in the tissues of fish during their growth. During this thesis, carbon, nitrogen and sulphur isotope analyses will be developed on bones from 16 archaeological sites of the coast and inland of south-western France from Antiquity to the modern period. This area includes important cities such as Bordeaux, which may have obtained their resources from local areas or from a great distance, depending on the species and the period. Six taxa whose bones have already been determined by comparative anatomy are targeted: cod (Gadus morhua), herring (Clupea harengus), Pleuronectidae (plaice, flounder and dab family), Scombridae (mackerel family), Sparidae (sea bream family) and eel (Anguilla anguilla).
In order to better understand the possible fishing areas of Pleuronectidae, we will also implement ZOOMS analyses. This family includes species with different ecological behaviours. Flounder migrates in fresh water while the other species remain in brackish and saline waters. The morphological study of the bones does not allow to identify them to be identified to species level, a limitation that we will try to overcome with ZOOMS analysis.
The identification of fishing areas and their importance over time will allow us to understand the evolution of the exploitation of the sea and the trade routes that were favoured according to social, economic or environmental factors.