Variability in Neolithic Cattle Populations: a Case Study from the Orkney Islands
Author(s): Margaret Homko
The Orkney archipelago, at the northern end of Scotland, has a rich and well preserved record of Neolithic settlement. Radiocarbon dates from northern Scotland indicate the establishment of farming communities quite soon after those in southern England. However, the process by which agriculturalists reached these far northern territories is still not well understood. Faunal analysts (Watson 1931, Noddle 1983) have drawn attention to an apparent distinction in morphology between the cattle imported into Orkney and those found in Neolithic settings in southern England. This study examines size characteristics of Orkney cattle, comparing them with published data from southern England to test the hypothesis that they represent a separate and distinct population. If true, the inference might be that the initial agriculturalists in each region originated from different points on the European continent. Additionally, cattle from the Early and Late Neolithic stages on Orkney are compared to evaluate the possibility of new livestock introductions at the transition between cultural phases. The analysis of livestock remains from the Orkney Neolithic can potentially address issues regarding the arrival and establishment of agriculture in the northern regions of Great Britain, and, by implication, the migration patterns of the Neolithic inhabitants of northwestern Europe.
SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit http://www.tdar.org/SAA2015 for instructions and more information.
Cite this Record
Variability in Neolithic Cattle Populations: a Case Study from the Orkney Islands. Margaret Homko. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397874)
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;