Session: #699

Theme & Session Format

2. Archaeological Sciences, Humanities and the Digital era: Bridging the Gaps
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Tracing Ovicaprine Lives: Bioarchaeological Perspectives on Sheep and Goat Husbandry
Domestic sheep and goat have played a pivotal role in past societies since their origin, but many aspects of their past lives remain poorly understood. This session aims to bring together current research on the initial stages of sheep and goat domestication and the development of husbandry practices through time, with a particular focus on the use of secondary products and craft materials such as dairy products, wool or skins.

Through this exploration, we seek to identify regional or broad patterns in species proportions, herd composition (age, sex) and morphological variation, providing insights into the socio-economic structures and cultural significance attached to small ruminant herding communities. At the same time, the recent adoption of novel scientific methods has allowed to gain new insights into their individual stories. In this sense, the session welcomes papers focusing on the discrimination of sheep, goats, and other small Bovidae that are most often challenging to distinguish morphologically, and the analysis of the latter in zooarchaeological assemblages. We also encourage studies addressing feeding and management practices, genetic changes, selection and movement of animals through time or space. Finally, the session seeks to highlight technological advancements beyond food production, such as craft practices or the value of wool products within ancient societies.

Thus, the session recognises the importance of adopting a multifaceted approach and we invite papers not only from zooarchaeology but also from the natural sciences, such as ancient and degraded DNA, palaeoproteomics (ZooMS and shotgun proteomics) and isotopic analyses. Papers which integrate evidence from multiple lines of inquiry or types of materials (e.g. wool textiles, leather, parchment) are particularly appreciated, as well as contributions from different time periods and geographical regions that have been understudied.
Sheep, Goat, Zooarchaeology, DNA, Proteins, Isotopes
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Main organiser:
Laura Viñas Caron (Denmark) 1,2
Jonas Jæger (Denmark) 1,2
Kevin Daly (Ireland) 3
Louise Le Meillour (Denmark) 2
1. Centre for Textile Research, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
2. Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
3. Trinity College Dublin, Ireland