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The identification of poultry processing in archaeological ceramic vessels using in-situ isotope references for organic residue analysis

Colonese, A. C., Lucquin, A., Guedes, E. P., Thomas, R., Best, J., Fothergill, B. T., Sykes, N., Foster, A., Miller, H., Poole, K., Maltby, M., Von Tersch, M. and Craig, O. E. 2017. The identification of poultry processing in archaeological ceramic vessels using in-situ isotope references for organic residue analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science 78 , pp. 179-192. 10.1016/j.jas.2016.12.006

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Abstract

Poultry products are rarely considered when reconstructing pottery use through organic residue analysis, impinging upon our understanding of the changing role of these animals in the past. Here we evaluate an isotopic approach for distinguishing chicken fats from other animal products. We compare the carbon isotopes of fatty acids extracted from modern tissues and archaeological bones and demonstrate that archaeological bones from contexts associated with pottery provide suitable reference ranges for distinguishing omnivorous animal products (e.g. pigs vs. chickens) in pots. When applied to pottery from the Anglo-Saxon site of Flixborough, England, we succeeded in identifying residues derived from chicken fats that otherwise could not be distinguished from other monogastric and ruminant animals using modern reference values only. This provides the first direct evidence for the processing of poultry or their products in pottery. The results highlight the utility of ‘in-situ’ archaeological bone lipids to identify omnivorous animal-derived lipids in archaeological ceramic vessels.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0305-4403
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 October 2020
Date of Acceptance: 1 December 2016
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2020 13:15
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/135649

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