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Hens, Health and Husbandry: Integrated Approaches to Past Poultry-keeping in England
journal contributionposted on 2019-03-06, 09:29 authored by B. Tyr Fothergill, Julia Best, Alison Foster, Beatrice Demarchi
This paper sheds new light on aspects of Roman and Anglo-Saxon chicken (Gallus gallus) husbandry and health through integrating analyses of chicken skeletal remains and eggshell from five archaeological sites in England (Fishbourne Roman Palace, Flixborough, Lyminge, Princesshay, and Uley). In addition to standardised archaeozoological study, over 10,400 chicken elements from these sites were subjected to palaeopathological and metrical analyses to clarify the relationship between husbandry methods and signs of disease and injury. Radiographic examination contributed to differential diagnosis of lesions and identification of medullary bone in complete appendicular elements. Eggshell examination was conducted on material from Flixborough using Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry and Scanning Electron Microscopy to identify species and developmental stage. Combined, these techniques demonstrate previously-unknown patterns of egg production and consumption. By integrating these approaches, our results reveal previously unconsidered aspects of chicken husbandry and illuminate the broader value and social impact of past chicken-human relationships from the first millennium AD.
We are grateful to NERC/AHRC for grant (NF/2015/2/5), the EPSRC and also the ORAU for enabling the referral to a new programme of radiocarbon dating. We gratefully acknowledge our project funders, the AHRC, who supported the research described in this paper and the preparation of this manuscript (AH/L006979/1).
CitationOpen Quaternary, 2017, 3(1), p.5.
Author affiliation/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/School of Archaeology and Ancient History
- VoR (Version of Record)