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Title: A zooarchaeological study of changing meat supply and butchery practices at medieval castles in England
Author: Foster, Hayley Jane
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis investigates the changing meat supply and butchery practices at medieval castles in England. The analysis represents a departure from prevailing zooarchaeological butchery studies in that it considers the importance of analysing butchery patterns to gain a better understanding of social status, diet and changes in how animals were exploited over time and in various geographic locations in England. This research highlights the potential of butchery studies and reveals previously unestablished information about how butchery was carried out, how meat was supplied and the practical and social reasoning behind why animals were slaughtered and consumed in a certain way. A butchery methodology was implemented for identifying significant patterns detailing where butchery marks were occurring on bone. The methodology was tested on assemblages from three castle sites: Edlingham Castle, Portchester Castle and Beeston Castle. The methodology is further carried out in the form of assessments for comparison, on animal bone assemblages from medieval urban sites in Newcastle, Winchester and Chester. The methodology is successful in showing that analysing butchery practices of an animal bone assemblage, has the potential to reveal previously unestablished information about past butchery practices and consumption patterns. High status medieval castle assemblages predominately show a professional style of butchery, however this is not always the case. A key characteristic of this style is the longitudinal division of the spine of a carcass. This thesis hypothesises that a castle in close proximity to an urban area would display a professional style of butchery and therefore would likely have a significant amount of dressed carcasses brought to the castle from an urban centre. However, location is not the only variable to take in to consideration. This research shows that the level of status of a castle is also an essential factor to consider. Aspects of this research can be implemented as an extension of existing methods available to zooarchaeologists in order to gain a better understanding of butchery practices and social status. Issues highlighted by the case studies in question are explored and ideas for future research are suggested.
Supervisor: Outram, Alan ; Creighton, Oliver Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Zooarchaeology ; Butchery