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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
Wim Van Neer studying the faunal remains

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Marc Waelkens

Subsistence Studies: July 25-29, 2004

The study of the animal remains from the different loci continued. This week's fauna illustrates again the variation in waste disposal patterns within the town. In the Northeast Building, the majority of the animal bones were collected within layers 4 and 5 of room 3, and within layer 6 of room 7, which is a later subdivision of room 3. Layer 6 of room 7 corresponds with the walking level of the last occupation phase of the Northeast Building (see Upper Agora, July 25-29). This collection represents consumption refuse of mainly cattle, sheep/goat (ovicaprines), and pig. It is, however, very striking that the ovicaprines dominate these contexts (75, 86, and 93%, respectively). Moreover, when the distribution of the skeletal elements of this small livestock is considered, skull elements and foot bones (metapodials and phalanges) are the most abundant. These elements are typical slaughtering refuse, since they bear no meat and are disposed of at the moment that the animals are killed. The meat-bearing parts of the fore- and hind legs (represented by scapulae, humeri, radii, ulnae, pelves, femora and tibiae) and the axial skeleton (vertebrae and ribs) were less frequently present. At first sight, this area may temporarily have been used as a dumping place of a nearby butcher. However, this material eventually became part of a new walking level. The predominance of ovicaprines is characteristic for Sagalassos from the fifth century A.D. onward, when as the result of growing instability farmers took to goat and sheep breeding instead of raising cattle as track and draft animals.

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