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The origins and spread of stock-keeping: the role of cultural and environmental influences on early Neolithic animal exploitation in Europe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 November 2013

Katie Manning
Affiliation:
1Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK
Sean S. Downey
Affiliation:
1Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK
Sue Colledge
Affiliation:
1Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK
James Conolly
Affiliation:
2Department of Anthropology, Trent University, Peterborough, ON, K9J 7B8, Canada
Barbara Stopp
Affiliation:
3Institut für Prähistorische und Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie (IPNA), Spalenring 145, CH-4055 Basel, Switzerland
Keith Dobney
Affiliation:
4Department of Archaeology, University of Aberdeen, St Mary's, Elphinstone Road, Aberdeen AB24 3UF, UK
Stephen Shennan
Affiliation:
1Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK

Abstract

It has long been recognised that the proportions of Neolithic domestic animal species—cattle, pig and sheep/goat—vary from region to region, but it has hitherto been unclear how much this variability is related to cultural practices or to environmental constraints. This study uses hundreds of faunal assemblages from across Neolithic Europe to reveal the distribution of animal use between north and south, east and west. The remarkable results present us with a geography of Neolithic animal society—from the rabbit-loving Mediterranean to the beef-eaters of the north and west. They also demonstrate that the choices made by early Neolithic herders were largely determined by their environments. Cultural links appear to have played only a minor role in the species composition of early Neolithic animal societies.

Type
Research articles
Information
Copyright
Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd. 2013

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