Poster session 5.1

Veronica Aniceti and Mauro Rizzetto (University of Sheffield)

vaniceti1@sheffield.ac.uk, mauro.rizzetto11@gmail.com

Animal food resources in Roman Britain: changing husbandry practices and dietary preferences at Castleford (West Yorkshire, England)

The zooarchaeological analyses of a faunal assemblage from Castleford, a Roman military and civilian site in West Yorkshire, are presented and discussed. The fort was in use in the late 1st century AD; a small settlement developed next to the fort and survived into the 4th century.

The assemblage here analysed was recovered from the vicus. The prevalence of cattle and the dearth of pig remains are typical of Roman low-status military sites; similarities and differences between the vicus and the fort are explored in terms of differential access to food resources.

Traits of specialisation become more apparent in the 2nd century, when cattle were consistently exploited for ploughing. Highly standardised patterns of animal exploitation were affected by the needs and preferences of Roman settlers; this is observed elsewhere in Britain and led to widespread changes in the production and distribution of animal products.

The late Roman phase witnesses a return to more generalised husbandry practices. A shift of dietary preferences from beef to mutton is attested by a major focus on sheep. This suggests that indigenous husbandry practices played a major role in this period.

The results are contextualised within the main trends of animal exploitation in Roman Britain.