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Strontium and oxygen isotope evidence for the origin and movement of cattle at Late Neolithic Durrington Walls, UK

Evans, Jane, Parker Pearson, Mike, Madgwick, Richard ORCID:, Sloane, Hilary and Albarella, Umberto 2019. Strontium and oxygen isotope evidence for the origin and movement of cattle at Late Neolithic Durrington Walls, UK. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 11 (10) , pp. 5181-5197. 10.1007/s12520-019-00849-w

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The geographic origins of livestock found at the Late Neolithic site of Durrington Walls (Wiltshire, UK) is explored using strontium (87Sr/86Sr) and oxygen (δ18OcarbVSMOW) isotope analysis of tooth enamel as an archive of lifetime movement. The analysis of 49 cattle is augmented with data for small numbers of animals from the contemporaneous monumental centres of West Kennet Palisade Enclosures (4), Stonehenge (1), and Marden (1). Unburnt human remains are scarce at these sites and the suite of biomolecular analyses that can be undertaken on cremated remains is limited. Therefore, these animals provide the best proxy for the origins of the people who raised them and give key information on livestock management. This builds on the Sr isotope analysis of 12 animals previously published from Durrington Walls and complements recent research on pig remains from the same sites, providing further evidence for the scale of human and animal movement and the catchment of these sites. The strontium isotope signatures from the animals’ teeth range between values that are consistent with local chalkland grazing to radiogenic values typical of granites and older rock types. The oxygen isotope data, coupled with the strontium results, provide new geographic resolution and indicate that the majority of the animals come from southern and western areas of Britain.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 1866-9557
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 June 2019
Date of Acceptance: 25 April 2019
Last Modified: 07 May 2023 00:41

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