Cetacean Exploitation in the Medieval London

Author(s): Youri Van Den Hurk

Year: 2017


Zooarchaeology aims to reconstruct the relationship between humans and animals based on the bone remains of these animals. However the field is often primarily concerned with (domesticated) terrestrial mammals, frequently neglecting cetaceans. This can be ascribed to the fact that zooarchaeological cetacean remains are often too fragmented for identification and a general lack of extensive cetacean reference collections for comparison, resulting in poor understanding of early human-cetacean relations.

Numerous medieval sources mention the exploitation of cetaceans in the United Kingdom, including London. These sources often mention that the exploitation and consumption of cetaceans were restricted to the social elite. London was already a large city in the medieval period and at numerous archaeological sites have cetacean remains been uncovered. These remains are often fragmented and have been neglected and understudied so far. By examining these remains and performing ZooMS (Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry) an attempt will made to see which species were exploited and whether their consumption was indeed restricted to the social elite, as stated by the medieval sources.

Cite this Record

Cetacean Exploitation in the Medieval London. Youri Van Den Hurk. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430920)


Cetacean london Whaling

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16340