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Title: The diet and management of ancient sheep and goats : the potential of dental microwear
Author: Lawrence, Lucy
ISNI:       0000 0004 8506 3069
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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Dental microwear analysis records and interprets the marks left on the enamel surface of a tooth, caused by hard abrasives in food or contaminants such as grit. The analysis provides evidence for short-term diet and has previously used Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) to photograph tooth surfaces at high magnification. In this thesis, a new low-magnification, digital method is developed, tested on modern teeth of known dietary history, and applied to archaeological sheep and goats from three Late and Final Neolithic sites in Greece: Toumba Kremastis-Koiladas (TKK), Makriyalos (MK), and Knossos (KN). The new, Digital Light Microscopy (DLM) method proved successful in recording and distinguishing microwear patterns associated with modern known-diet groups of sheep and goats, with results comparable to those produced by Ingrid Mainland using the SEM method on broadly the same samples. Research questions addressed by investigating diet of archaeological sheep and goats at the three sites focussed on: the scale of animal husbandry and its degree of integration with crop husbandry; and the extent to which livestock were fattened prior to consumption within large-scale collective and/or small-scale domestic commensal events. The results revealed that foddering was common at all three sites and within contexts attributed to both large-scale feasting and 'domestic' habitation consumption, suggesting that it was a more prevalent aspect of Late Neolithic and Final Neolithic sheep and goat husbandry than previously suspected. Given the available evidence from dental eruption and wear for ages at death, it seems that the use of fodder was not limited to either winter or summer periods of scarce pasture, but was instead more likely a short-term method for fattening animals before slaughter, with significant implications for the reliability of agricultural subsistence ('through indirect storage') and for the cohesion and dynamism of Neolithic communities (through feasting and 'social storage').
Supervisor: Halstead, Paul ; Jones, Glynis Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available