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An investigation of the origins of cattle and aurochs deposited in the Early Bronze Age barrows at Gayhurst and Irthlingborough.

Towers, J. and Montgomery, J. and Evans, J. and Jay, M. and Pearson, M.P. (2010) 'An investigation of the origins of cattle and aurochs deposited in the Early Bronze Age barrows at Gayhurst and Irthlingborough.', Journal of archaeological science., 37 (3). pp. 508-515.


The Early Bronze Age round barrows at Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire and Gayhurst, Buckinghamshire contained remarkably large quantities of cattle (Bos taurus) remains. At Irthlingborough, at least 185 skulls with smaller numbers of mandibles, shoulder blades and pelves were found together with a small number of skeletal elements from aurochs (Bos primigenius). In contrast, the remains from Gayhurst are dominated by the limb bones from more than 300 animals. This study employed strontium isotope ratio analysis of cattle tooth enamel from 15 cattle and one aurochs to investigate the diversity of the animals' origins at both sites and provide insights into Early Bronze Age funerary practices. Although strontium results show that most of the cattle and the aurochs included in this study were consistent with local origins, one animal from each barrow was born remotely, most likely in western Britain. In addition, a second Gayhurst animal was consistent with origins in a region of chalk rather than the local Jurassic sediments.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Strontium, Isotope analysis, Tooth enamel, TIMS, Intra-tooth sampling, Progressive mineralization pattern, Strontium isotope ratios, Tooth enamel, Bovile enamel, SR-87/SR-86, Stonehenge, Resolution, Chemistry, Migration, Histology.
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Publisher statement:NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of archaeological science. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of archaeological science, 37,3, 20 2010, 10.1016/j.jas.2009.10.012
Record Created:29 Jul 2011 16:50
Last Modified:17 Jan 2014 12:12

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