The Composition and Interpretation of Associated Bone Groups from Wessex

Morris, James orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5756-0362 (2010) The Composition and Interpretation of Associated Bone Groups from Wessex. In: Anthropological Approaches to Zooarchaeology: Colonialism, Complexity and Animal Transformations. Oxbow Books, Oxford, pp. 259-269. ISBN 9781842173909

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This paper derives from work investigating the nature and interpretation of associated bone groups (ABGs), which have also been referred to in the literature as “special animal deposits.” The project has involved the collection of all available published data regarding these deposits from the Wessex region, southern England. The information presented here comprises the initial results. The past and current interpretations for such deposits are discussed with differences between periods, and the influence of archaeological paradigms highlighted. The species proportion and composition of ABGs are investigated for sites dating from the Neolithic to the medieval period. The results indicate that a number of changes occur in the ABG assemblages between time periods, possibly due to social change. The transition between the late Iron Age and Romano-British period is investigated in depth. Results show that the composition of ABGs from rural settlements changed very little until the middle Romano-British period. However, urban sites display a “Romanised” pattern from the beginning of the Romano-British period. Finally, there is a discussion in the paper about whether current trend of ritual interpretations for ABGs should be continued.

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