Investigating animal husbandry practices through the analysis of animal remains from medieval to modern times.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Archaeology


Investigating animal husbandry practices through the analysis of animal remains from medieval to modern times.


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Description This research, when completed, will give a more detailed insight in to late Medieval livestock change, specifically on rural sites, which have not previously been studied in detail. This includes a combination of zooarchaeological, landscape, and historical data which gives an indication of whether landscape enclosure affected late Medieval livestock management. So far, while the landscape and historical data has highlighted a significant change in landscape organisation on rural sites during the late Medieval period, the zooarchaeological data suggests that this was not the main impetus for livestock improvement. In fact, faunal data from rural sites does not show the significant increase in animal size evident on urban sites in the late Medieval period. This raises the question of why this change is not apparently present, and how the livestock management on these sites is linked to the findings from urban sites. The focus of this research has therefore expanded to include the assessment of trade associated with rural centres, and the comparison of rural results to local urban data.
Exploitation Route Following research may consider other potential causes of livestock change, and why a different pattern of zooarchaeological results can be seen on rural sites compared to urban areas. If possible, additional case studies would be useful, especially from other areas such as East Anglia. Consideration of trade and movement between urban and rural sites may also be beneficial.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

Title Zooarchaeological Database 
Description Large database recording zooarchaeological material from Medieval/Post-medieval rural sites on England. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact N/A 
Description Collaboration with Historic England 
Organisation Historic England
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Supported by my institution's laboratory facilities and reference collection, I have undertaken the main bulk of research for the project. This has included the collection of historical, landscape and zooarchaeological data from case study sites. I have also undertaken analysis of that data, with assistance from supervisors both in Sheffield and Historic England.
Collaborator Contribution Colleagues at Historic England have contributed to supervision, providing access to specialist landscape and zooarchaeological knowledge. They have also aided in access to site information, faunal material and landscape archaeology training.
Impact Outcomes thus far include a large database of zooarchaeological information, with associated landscape and historical data.
Start Year 2015