Animal Bone by Sarah Viner


The method used in the assessment of bones from the Upper Chapel followed a modified version of that outlined by Davis (1992) and Albarella and Davis (1994). Briefly, the elements included as 'countable' were: loose upper and lower teeth (in mammals); jaws with at least one tooth in place; cranium (complete or partial zygomaticus); atlas; axis; scapula (glenoid cavity); coracoid (in birds); distal humerus (at least half), distal radius (at least half), proximal ulna, carpal 3 (C3), distal metacarpal (at least half), carpometacarpus (in birds), pelvis (ischial part of the acetabulum); distal tibia (at least half); calcaneum; scafocuboid; distal metatarsal (at least half); phalanges 1, 2, and 3.

In addition to these 'countable' elements, other 'non-countable' specimens were recorded. These included horncore, antler, bones with evidence of sawing or bone working, and ribs and vertebrae (recorded as belonging to a small, medium or large sized animal).


The bones were generally well preserved with little indication that they had been exposed to weathering. There was no evidence of attrition caused by scavengers.

A small collection of bones (ten countable specimens) were recorded and are summarised in Table 16. Cattle (Bos) was the most common taxa, with sheep/goat (Ovis/Capra) and rabbit (Oryctolagus) both represented by a single specimen. Although two loose teeth were found there were no ageable mandibles.

Many of the cattle bones (6) were distal metapodials (both metacarpals and metatarsals). A number of these distal ends had been sawn from the shaft of the bone. Three pieces of non-countable bone showed evidence of sawing; again these probably originated from metapodials. These bones, in addition to the bone handle fragment found in the assemblage, suggest that the majority of the faunal remains were deposited as refuse from bone working. Cut marks on the single rabbit specimen (a pelvis) indicates that this is probably the remains of food.

It is probable that many of the bones included in the assessment represent debris from bone working. However, further analysis was not undertaken as bones were predominantly unstratified.

Animal bone from the gravestone watching brief, by Linzi Harvey

A total of 13 fragments of animal bone were recovered during the watching brief on the re-laying of the gravestones at the Upper Chapel. These are described in Table 17.

A single sheep/goat rib fragment, showing signs of butchery, was recovered from the area of Grave 10. From the area of Grave 20, 12 fragments of cow skull and horncore were recovered. The horn is cleanly chopped through around 70mm from the skull, with a smaller additional chop mark further towards the base. It is likely that this horncore is manufacturing debris.


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