Review of Middle Bronze Age and Late Iron Age Faunal Assemblages from Southern Britain

Author(s): Ellen Hambleton

This study provides a synthetic review of published faunal assemblages. Key themes include: animal husbandry; diet and economy; agricultural diversification and specialisation; and the nature of ‘special deposits’. Assessments of species frequency and relative abundance confirm that domestic mammals predominate. Consequently, analyses (e.g. ageing, butchery, biometric data) focus on the exploitation and deposition of sheep, cattle, pig, horse and dog. Other taxa (e.g. wild mammals, birds, fish and amphibians) are also discussed. Regional variations are evident in the availability and composition of faunal assemblages. Understanding of the Bronze Age relies heavily on a small number of large faunal assemblages, while the Iron Age dataset is more extensive. Zooarchaeological evidence comes mainly from the Wessex chalklands. The far Eastern and Western counties yield significantly fewer assemblages. Prehistoric pastoral farming in areas outside Wessex and ‘off the chalk’ requires further investigation. Landscape-based ‘environs’ studies, are identified as an important way forward in expanding our understanding of prehistoric farming communities. Integration of faunal data with other lines of archaeological evidence also has considerable potential to provide new insights. The review summarises current understanding of later prehistoric animal exploitation in the region, highlights gaps in current knowledge, and makes recommendations for future research.

Report Number:
Research Department Reports


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