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July 2003-July 2010InteractiveDig Sagalassos
An example of the goat/sheep bones as found in the praefurnium. The large piles at the bottom are those of pelvis, femur and tibia.
Skeleton of goat: the parts of pelvis, femur and tibia that were found in the praefurnium are coloured.
Mandibles of young pigs from the praefurnium of the Roman Baths

Photos courtesy Sagalassos Archaeological Research Project. Click on images to enlarge.
by Bea De Cuppere

Roman Baths: July 31, 2008

In general, faunal remains are not so frequent in the Roman baths, but now and then special accumulations are found (see the remains in frigidarium 2 of a possible festive meal and the concentrations of eagle owl pellets. In 2007 and this year, two assemblages were found within the praefurnium that seem to represent special deposits. In room xx, excavated last year, a very high percentage of goat and sheep bones was found, with goat outnumbering the sheep. Other, less frequently represented animals were cattle and pig, in more or less equal numbers, and a few chickens. The skeletal element distribution of the goats and the sheep was very peculiar: the majority of the identified bones could be attributed to the hind limb, and more in particular, to their meat bearing parts (pelvis, femur and tibia). It appeared that the legs had been cut near the hip joint since the proximal femurs are missing. The knee joints (distal femur, patella and proximal tibia) that have almost no meat on them, were almost completely absent. The bones found correspond hence to what also today is considered as the choice cuts. All other skeletal elements, such as skull fragments, vertebrae, ribs and elements of the fore limb were heavily under-represented; canon bones and phalanges were also missing almost completely.

The second assemblage, from room xxx is characterized by a rather high number of pig remains. Former archaeozoological research indicated that the relative abundance of pig bones is usually quite low at Sagalassos. However, in this assemblage pigs and goat/sheep are more or less evenly represented. The skeletal distribution of the goat/sheep is similar to that of the assemblage described above. In the case of pig, many cranial fragments and mandibles were identified. Two age classes could be recognized, a first group consisting of very young animals, and a second - but smaller - group of some older individuals. Again, this assemblage is reflecting the consumption of high quality meat.

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