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Food for thought: the potential and problems of faunal evidence for interpreting late antique society

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JournalLate Antique Archaeology
DatePublished - 2012
Issue number1
Number of pages40
Pages (from-to)513-552
Original languageEnglish


This article considers the use of animal bones as an aid to understanding social dynamics in Late Antiquity. Faunal evidence has been deployed to great effect in many aspects of archaeology but, I argue, remains under-exploited in Classical and Early Medieval contexts. Making the most of this material will require the development of new interpretative frameworks and an awareness of various methodological barriers. Nonetheless, patterning of data from Early Roman contexts provides a ready source of models to test and develop for later centuries. This process will be especially useful when groups of settlements can be compared (here, major towns in North Africa), and when faunal patterning can be related to contemporary developments in the landscapes where the breeding, husbandry and culling of livestock took place. Here I use the area around Wharram Percy, North Yorkshire as a case study.

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© 2012 Koninklijke Brill NV. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Late Antique Archaeology. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.

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