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Pigs from six medieval sites in Flanders: A multiple methodological approach to the study of their husbandry development

DREW, CARRIE,ANN (2010) Pigs from six medieval sites in Flanders: A multiple methodological approach to the study of their husbandry development. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This study considers the effects that variations in living conditions have on animals, in particular pigs, and how these differences can be examined using the archaeological record. A wider theme examines whether changes in the husbandry of animals can be understood more clearly and recognised more accurately by employing recently developing techniques and whether any of these could be beneficial to use as standard practice. It investigates how, using a much wider than normal range of approaches zooarchaeological evidence at archaeological sites can be used to answer questions about husbandry in a much better way than any of the approaches in isolation.

This research used six key faunal assemblages from sites in Western Flanders as case studies to investigate these questions, with a particular focus reserved for pigs. The sites used for the primary research comprised Raversijde (15th century AD), Koekelare (15th century AD), Ename (14th century AD), Londerzeel (13th-14th centuries AD), Veurne (10th-11th centuries AD) and Oudenberg (4th century AD), all sites from Western Flanders and predominantly dating to the medieval period. The sites exhibited differences in both physical location and social context which were believed likely to explain any variations husbandry strategies should they exist. Rsults showed that, as population pressures increased during the early modern period, a nuanced change in pig-keeping from pannage to stall-keeping occurred. It has been practically impossible to identify this change from the archaeological record through traditional means. At Raversijde, in particular the type of pig-keeping being employed was clearly determined as stall-keeping, especially seen through the high frequency of enamel hypoplasias, indicating stress, but the spacing of teeth in the jaws indicated good nourishment in general.

The techniques utilised in this project include dental microwear, linear enamel hypoplasia, and identification of pathologies or anomalies in both teeth and post-cranial elements, set alongside more traditional examinations of both mandibular and post-cranial elements. This provided an in-depth consideration of how recent scientific developments and established standard zooarchaeological techniques could be integrated, and also showed the potential in exploring further methodologies as standard for such sites. As well as successfully differentiating husbandry practices in the various sites examined, the research also highlighted the necessity to explore further what is meant by a ‘typical’ domestic pig.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:PhD by Research, pig, archaeology, husbandry, flanders, stress, dental microwear, linear enamel hypoplasia, pathologies, teeth, stalling, pannage
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:20 Apr 2011 11:34

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