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Bones of the snout of cattle found at the Macellum showing chop marks
Large antler branch with saw marks from the Macellum.
Shells found at the Macellum

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

Archaeozoology: August 12-25, 2007

Animal remains from the Macellum


Skull of cattle. The colored bones indicate the part of the snout that was eaten at the Macellum.

The faunal remains from the Macellum consist mainly of bones of consumed sheep and goat and, to a lesser extent, of pig and cattle. Despite the low number of cattle bones, the contribution of beef to the diet should not be underestimated. The refuse of cattle butchered near the Odeon and the Lower Agora shows that most of the beef was sold without bones. Cattle bones found their way to the consumer only exceptionally, e.g. in the case of vertebrae from which the meat cannot easily be cut off. Among the cattle bones found at the Macellum, vertebrae are indeed among the most common elements together with small rib fragments. The latter represent the proximal part of the rib that was left attached to the vertebra, and show butchery marks indicating that the rest of the rib was chopped off and left at the butchery place. The vertebral portion could easily have been used in soup-like meals. Material from last year also showed that the snout of cattle must have been another food item at Sagalassos. Although cranial fragments and mandibles were very abundant at the butchery place of the Odeon, the nasal bone and the most anterior part of the upper and lower jaw (premaxilla and mandible) were missing. It is exactly these bone fragments that have been found among the consumption refuse of the Macellum.

During the 2005 campaign we found that craftsmen were active at the Macellum: among the faunal material antler fragments with traces of working were identified. Last year, and also this year, we found more refuse of antler working at the Macellum. This material was mostly located in rooms 3 and 4. Besides some smaller fragments, we recovered in room 4 three large beams with saw marks at both ends. A half-finished object, presumably a knife handle, was also found in this room. Small fragments of worked antler were found in contexts outside the Macellum this year.

Last year, we found several Mediterranean shells, including an almost complete triton shell, two rock shells, two cockles, and a mussel in room 4. In addition, there were some large specimens of a fresh water bivalve. The same locus also yielded the complete carapace of a tortoise. The latter was certainly not from an intrusive animal, as it was found amidst a large concentration of metal and glass objects. Most probably the shells and the tortoise carapace were collector items, or may have been used as decoration by the room's inhabitants. Excavations this year yielded a freshwater bivalve with holes were drilled in the shell.


The complete tortoise carapace in room 4 of the Macellum

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