Abstract and Keywords
This paper presents an overview of the main trends in animal exploitation in the Medieval period in Ireland as revealed by the zooarchaeological data. Cattle dominated the farming economy and diet throughout the period with dairying being their principal role. Sheep are consistently present. The growth of the wool trade after the Anglo-Norman conquest is evident in assemblages from the east and southeast, though it is not a strong trend with their use as a source of meat persisting throughout the Medieval period. An urban–rural dichotomy is also evident in the exploitation of pigs, goats, cats, dogs, and domestic poultry. The native Irish clearly took little interest in the exploitation of wild animals, unlike the Anglo-Normans for whom the consumption and hunting of game played an important role.
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