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Title: The origins and evolution of pig domestication in prehistoric Spain
Author: Hadjikoumis, Angelos
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2010
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From the main four domesticates (cattle, sheep, goat, and pig), the pig has only recently attracted scientific interest worthy of its archaeological importance. Synthetic works studying wild or domestic pigs in European regions such as Italy, Sardinia/Corsica and Poland have provided important insights often missed by site-focused zooarchaeological reports. This thesis constitutes the first study focusing on pigs and their interactions with humans in Spain from pre-Neolithic times until the Iron Age. Crucial archaeological issues addressed include, when and how pig domestication occurred, how it was integrated in the neolithisation of Iberia, and how it evolved in post-Neolithic periods. The relationships between humans and wild boar as well as between domestic pigs and their wild counterparts are also explored. A large volume of biometric data on postcranial and dental elements, combined with age and sex data of pig populations, allow reliable analyses and well-informed interpretations. These data are explored graphically and described to refine the picture of prehistoric pig populations in Spain and generate inferences on their relationship with humans. Biometric data from other countries and ethnoarchaeological data of traditional pig husbandry practices from southwest Iberia and other Mediterranean regions are analysed to enhance the interpretational value of the Spanish zooarchaeological data. The results support the appearance of domestic pigs from the early 6th millennium cal. BC in most parts of Spain and suggest ample diversity in early pig husbandry practices. By the end of the Neolithic, domestic pigs were present across Spain and more important than hunted wild boar. From the Late/Final Neolithic onwards, domestic pigs were morphologically distinguishable from wild boar on population level. The data also suggest an increase in wild boar hunting in the Bronze Age followed by further intensification of pig management in the Iron Age. Possible explanations and implications of these findings are discussed.
Supervisor: Albarella, Umberto Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available