The bigger the cow the better she is’: new archaeological perspectives on livestock ‘improvement’ in late medieval and early modern England
In recent years, zooarchaeologists have become increasingly interested in exploring the timing and nature of ‘improvements’ in animal husbandry in later medieval and early modern England. These studies have identified that size and shape changes occurred from the 14th to the 17th centuries. However, the picture is complex: outlying sites experience later developments than central localities and there is considerable variation in the timing of size changes for different species at different sites. While this evidence has made an important contribution to current debates in agricultural history, there is an important gap in our knowledge: the nature and timing of livestock improvement in the sites supplying London. The purpose of this paper is to present evidence that fills this gap and move the debate beyond identifying the timing and extent of ‘improvement’ as it relates to agricultural productivity and contemplate social drivers that influenced the desire to breed larger animals.
Cite this Record
The bigger the cow the better she is’: new archaeological perspectives on livestock ‘improvement’ in late medieval and early modern England. RM Thomas, M Holmes, James Morris. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428222)
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min long: -8.158; min lat: 49.955 ; max long: 1.749; max lat: 60.722 ;
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Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology