Radiographic evidence for changing patterns of animal exploitation in the Southern levant

Patricia Smith, Liora Kolska Horwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Radiographs were taken of sheep (Ovis aries) and goat (Capra hircus) metacarpals from archaeological sites in Israel dating from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) to recent times. From these radiographs the combined cortical thickness (CCT) of the bones was measured, and used to estimate sample variation in bone mass. The samples were compared by species and period, and further compared with CCT values obtained for a recent sample of ibex (Capra ibex nubiana) from the same region. For all periods studied, CCT values in goats were comparable with those of recent ibex. A significant reduction in CCT values of both sheep and goats was found in the Early Bronze to recent samples as compared with the Chalcolithic and PPNB samples. It is proposed that this reduction in CCT values is associated with the presence of older, female animals in the later samples studied, and may be indicative of an emphasis on milk herds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1984
Externally publishedYes

Funding

Acknowledgements We would like to thank Professor E. Tchernov, Dr C. Grigson and Dr S. Davis for their valuable comments on the earlier versions of this manuscript. Research was supported by the Israel Academy of Sciences and the Hebrew University Hadassah School of Dental Medicine.

FundersFunder number
Hebrew University Hadassah School of Dental Medicine
Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities

    Keywords

    • Southern levant
    • caprines
    • cortical thickness
    • domestication
    • metacarpals
    • milking

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