The past two weeks we have had the pleasure of working with Ian Smith, an animal bone specialist for Oxford Archaeology North. He was tasked with completing an initial assessment of the animal bone found from last year’s excavations.
During the excavations season we have post excavation volunteers who wash, dry and sort the animal bone in to context order.
Ian has then been looking more closely at each context to extract more information such as:
· What different types of animals were here
· Identifying the different types of bones (ribs, humerus, femur, etc.)
· Identifying the teeth
· Noting any unusual features such as butchery marks or pathologies (such as disease) on the bones
Metatarsals (hand/foot bones) from (top to bottom) horse, cow and deer. (Left to right) cow, sheep/goat, pig and dog.
(Left to right) Some of the different types of bones that were found - a cow’s femur, a deer’s metacarpal, a sheep/goat’s radius, a sheep/goat’s tibia and a dog’s ulna.
(Left to right) Some of the teeth that were found from a horse, cow, pig, sheep/goat and dog.
This initial assessment from Ian will inform us of any anything interesting that we might wish to explore in more detail in the full animal bone report such as:
· Age of death patterns
· Male/female ratios
· Intra-site differences
· How the different species changed in number through different phases of occupation
The report will then be compiled and included in the 2014-2017 SMC excavation report.