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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article outlines the source material for an archaeological study of Anglo-Saxon animal husbandry, namely the excavated remains of the livestock themselves. Furthermore, the regional and diachronic variation in relative abundance is reviewed, and then addresses what is known regarding the morphology and appearance of Anglo-Saxon livestock. The three main livestock taxa (cattle, sheep, pigs) dominate the zooarchaeological assemblages. Mortality profiles are proxy evidence of husbandry regimes, reflecting the need for, and value placed upon, the diverse resources yielded by farm livestock. The impression that is acquired of animal husbandry through the Anglo-Saxon centuries is that mixed farming was carried on throughout eastern England, generally quite successfully, with minor local adaptations. There is little indication that pastoral systems were under particular stress, and clear evidence that cattle and sheep, though certainly slaughtered for meat, were not primarily raised for that purpose.

Keywords: Anglo-Saxon animal husbandry, archaeological study, cattle, sheep, pigs, zooarchaeological assemblages, mortality

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