Animal Bones Galore!

We're only in day two of the excavation, and we have already discovered a large amount of animal bones! These bones were found during the cleaning of the stone trackway at the eastern end of the trench, in the primary fill which has been partially excavated. The trackway has been identified as sub-Roman and pre-Saxon, and although there has been no direct evidence of Romans found in association with the trackway, there may well be some residual Roman artefacts in the upper layers. This implies that they would have been kept or eaten by people living in Berkeley during the 5th and 6th centuries.

The bones found today (15/05/2018).

The bones themselves are large and robust, suggesting that they probably came from an animal such as a cow. They are in good condition and have not been crushed by the stones.

Second year student Fran with the bones found today (15/05/2018).

Compared to the animal bones discovered in this area of the trench last year, the new bones are much smaller. In the 2017 season, we discovered this enormous leg bone! It was found in the same context in the same part of the trench as this years' bone.

The bones found last year on 26/05/2017)

Animal bones can be extremely useful in providing us with information about the site, in addition to information about the animal itself. This applies in particular to the type of bone found. If an animal was used for meat, we will likely uncover vertebrae, long bones and ribs, and there may also be some evidence for butchery and burning. Hooves suggest glue production, which is in turn indicative of industry and the presence of carpals and tarsals means that the animal was not used for meat.

The bones found last year on 26/05/2017.

We spoke to Sian Thomas, one of our Site Supervisors, about animal bones and she told us that interestingly, every part of a pig can be billed for use, and so archaeologists generally find less of them. It is also important to remember that the age and sex of animal bones can be very informative; the remains of young calves and older mothers indicates some kind of dairy farm, likely producing solely milk.

-Abbie O'Connell