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Physical evidence of weapon trauma in medieval burials is unusual, and evidence for trauma caused by arrowheads is exceptionally rare. Where high frequencies of traumatic injuries have been identified, this is mainly in contexts related to battles; it is much less common in normative burials. Osteological analysis of one context from an assemblage of disarticulated and commingled human bones recovered from a cemetery associated with the thirteenth-century Dominican friary in Exeter, Devon, shows several instances of weapon trauma, including multiple injuries caused by projectile points. Arrow trauma is notoriously difficult to identify, but this assemblage shows that arrows fired from longbows could result in entry and exit wounds in the skull not incomparable to modern gunshot wounds. Microscopic examination of the fracture patterns and spalling associated with these puncture wounds provides tentative evidence that medieval arrows were fletched to spin clockwise. These results have profound implications for our understanding of the power of the medieval longbow, for how we recognise arrow trauma in the archaeological record and for our knowledge of how common violent death and injury were in the medieval past, and how and where casualties were buried.
Chapter 7 is an integrated case study showing how the full range of established and novel techniques have been integrated to understand the early farming economies of Central Europe, with particular focus on the LBK culture. This case study shows how such approaches are invaluable in understanding not only diet and subsistence, but also social issues of identity and inheritance.
Chapter 5 discusses how the study of ancient genetics has contributed specifically to our understanding economic issues through the sequencing of human, plant and animal DNA. It discusses the next generation sequencing and whole genome revolutions, the study of domestication events, migration and health, as well as some of the precautions needed to avoid pitfalls encountered in some earlier studies.
Chapter 3 deals with the stable isotope revolution and considers how isotopic approaches can best be integrated with more established forms of zooarchaeological and archaeobotanical evidence. This chapter also considers latest developments in this field and how they might further revolutionise our understanding.
Chapter 4 is about the organic residue analysis, both of lipids and proteins, concentrating particularly on the identification of foods and other substances absorbed into pottery vessels, but also considers dental calculus. The chapter considers the middle range theory behind reaching conclusions regarding diet from the reconstructing the past contents of a particular class of material culture.
Chapter 9 concludes by revisiting the key ideas of the palaeoeconomy school to evaluate their continued relevance and also discusses how to strike the best balance in theoretical approach between economic, environmental, social and cultural factors. The volume ends with a discussion of up and coming challenges and opportunities in the field.
Chapter 8 presents another integrated case study addressing the origins of domestic horses and pastoralism in Central Asia, focussing on modern day Kazakhstan during the Eneolithic and Bronze Age. As well as discussing issues of animal domestication it also considers questions of mobility and aspects of social zooarchaeology amongst pastoralists.
Chapter 2 addresses the divisive issue of ‘environmental determinism’ and provides a critical consideration of models and approaches such as site catchment analysis, behavioural ecology, carrying capacity and niche construction theory. It considers when determinism is and is not valid and how to use models as an effective framework in both economic and cultural contexts.
Chapter 6 deals with how the microscopic study of phytoliths starch grains has revolutionised our understanding of archaeobotany in (sub)tropical regions as well has how these techniques might add further to research in other environments.
Chapter 1 considers the origins and development of economic approaches to archaeology paying particular attention to the Cambridge ‘palaeoeconomy’ school of the 1960s and 70s. It draws out the key achievements and legacies of that time as well addressing post-processual criticism.
Over the last thirty years, new scientific techniques have revolutionised our understanding of prehistoric economies. They enable a sound comprehension of human diet and subsistence in different environments, which is an essential framework for appreciating the rich tapestry of past human cultural variation. This volume first considers the origins of economic approaches in archaeology and the theoretical debates surrounding issues such as 'environmental determinism'. Using globally diverse examples, Alan K. Outram and Amy Bogaard critically investigate the best way to integrate newer lines of evidence such as ancient genetics, stable isotope analysis, organic residue chemistry and starch and phytolith studies with long-established forms of archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological data. Two case study chapters, on early Neolithic farming in Europe, and the origins of domestic horses and pastoralism in Central Asia, illustrate the benefit of a multi-proxy approach and how economic considerations feed into broader social and cultural questions.
This chapter focuses on cultures that rely on the herding of animals for the majority of their subsistence, though some discussion of mixed farming regimes, in order to identify the origins of some herding practices and to help make comparisons with purely pastoralist economies. It explores the key issues affecting the origins of pastoral societies, such as the circumstances of animal domestication, the supply of fodder and the origins of dairying and wool exploitation. From the agriculturalists' point of view, the feeding of stock allows the conversion of inedible by-products into protein and fat. In order to understand the development of prehistoric pastoralism, it is necessary to ask when practices such as milking first developed and whether the timing of Sherratt's secondary products revolution holds true for all regions and environments within Eurasia. It is archaeologically very difficult to reconstruct patterns of mobility among ancient pastoralists. Fully nomadic groups will leave extremely ephemeral settlement evidence.