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An investigation of cattle birth seasonality using δ13C and δ18O profiles within first molar enamel.

Towers, J. and Gledhill, A. and Bond, J. and Montgomery, J. (2014) 'An investigation of cattle birth seasonality using δ13C and δ18O profiles within first molar enamel.', Archaeometry., 56 (S1). pp. 208-236.


Cattle (Bos taurus) are biologically able to breed year-round, potentially giving farmers the freedom to choose a calving strategy to best meet their economic goals. Thus, an accurate method to determine cattle birth seasonality from archaeological remains would prove to be a valuable tool when investigating a prehistoric farming community. This paper presents the results of intra-tooth isotope ratio analysis (δ18O, δ13C) of first, second and third molars from 15 cattle. The principal outcome is a possible new approach to determining cattle birth seasonality utilizing both carbon and oxygen isotope ratio measurements of first molar enamel. Although this technique requires verification through more extensive testing, particularly of modern material, initial results suggest that it may produce more accurate predictions of birth seasonality than techniques based on intra-tooth δ18O measurements of second and third molars.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Published on behalf of the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, Oxford University, in association with the Gesellschaft für Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie ARCHAEOMETRIE and Society for Archaeological Sciences.
Keywords:Tooth enamel, Molar formation, Cattle, Birth seasonality, Oxygen, Carbon, Isotope, Ratio analysis.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Towers, J., Gledhill, A., Bond, J. and Montgomery, J. (2014), An Investigation of Cattle Birth Seasonality using δ13C and δ18O Profiles within First Molar Enamel. Archaeometry, 56: 208-236, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Record Created:16 Jan 2014 11:35
Last Modified:31 Aug 2014 00:30

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