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Title: Aspects of economy and environment of north west Lewis in the first millennium AD : the non-marine faunal evidence from Bostadh and Beirgh considered within the framework of north Atlantic Scotland
Author: Thoms, Jennifer E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2708 4021
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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The non-marine faunal remains from excavations at the sites of Bostadh Beach, Great Bernera and Loch na Beirgh, Bhaltos, Lewis were analysed to investigate aspects of the economy and environment in the first millennium AD. Both sites show structural evidence of occupancy over several hundred years, covering several structural phases with evidence of rebuilding and repairs to buildings. At the site of Bostadh the occupation phases appear to encompass the cultural change involved in the arrival of the Norse, allowing changes in economic strategies between the two cultures to be examined. The bones from four occupation phases at Bostadh were analysed, and from one occupation phase at Beirgh. The evidence from these two sites was considered in the light of work previously carried out in the Bhaltos peninsula, Lewis, and in similar studies elsewhere in north Atlantic Scotland. The general condition of the bones was good, reflecting the calcium rich machair soils of the area, and making them an important resource in the understanding of the economy and environment of Atlantic Scotland in the first millennia AD. The state of preservation and fragmentation of each of the bone specimens was recorded with the hope of furthering understanding of site formation processes. The good condition of the bones made them highly identifiable and of considerable archaeological value. A range of mammalian and avian species were retrieved from both sites indicating a mixed economy with opportunistic use made of locally available resources. The bones of red deer (Cervus elaphus) are particularly abundant within the assemblage of bones retrieved from both sites, suggesting a heavy reliance on the animals for meat. The apparent importance of red deer in the economy of these sites is unusual in north Atlantic Scotland and some consideration is therefore given as to how the animals were procured and whether some sort of management of the herds may have been taking place. Changes in the exploitation of animals over time are noted at Bostadh. Cattle and caprine (sheep or goat) bones are also present in substantial quantities. Other species represented in the assemblages include pig, otter, and dog, grey and common seal and a range of seabird species
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available