Appendix 3: Faunal Remains

Fay Worley

June 2017

A small assemblage of 135 animal bone fragments (weighing a total of c. 0.5kg) was recovered from recut [92307] of a ditch of Winterbourne Stoke 71 (WS71) long barrow. The assemblage derived from three contexts: primary fill (92305), secondary fill (92304) and tertiary fill (92302).

Animal bones and teeth were identified by comparison with the Historic England Zooarchaeology Reference Collection at Fort Cumberland, Portsmouth. Specimens were considered countable if they included at least 50% of any zone following Serjeantson's (1996) zone definitions. Vertebrae were considered countable if this included a centrum zone, and teeth if they included at least 50% of the crown. Recently broken fragments were refitted and counted as one specimen (i.e. NISP 1). Non-countable fragments were recorded to animal size.

Table 4: Hand-collected bones from Historic England excavations at WS71. Quantified by number of identified specimens (NISP) and number of non-countable fragments
a) In addition sample <52302> from fill (92304) produced 19 fragments of medium or large mammal bone, including a vertebral arch from the >4mm fraction and six crumbs of bone from the 2&#8211;4mm fraction. A 40 litre sample from each of the other two contexts didn't produce any animal bone; b) long bone fragments, c) includes vertebral arch, d) may also be part of the aurochs tibia, e) probably all from the same cattle horn core.
Context 92302 92304a 92305
Countable (NISP)
Aurochs? - 1 -
Cattle 1 2 -
Cattle? 1 - 1
Pig - 1 -
Total 2 4 1
Large mammal size 4b 1d 41e
Medium/large mammal size 19c 21 -
Total 23 22 41

The assemblage is in very poor condition with many recent breaks and all cortical surfaces heavily scarred by root etching. Only five specimens could be identified (Table 4), often comprising several refitted fragments. The primary fill included a heavily fragmented horncore, probably cattle. The secondary fill included a large proximal tibia fragment that, although not measurable, was consistent in size with an aurochs in the Historic England collection, a cattle scapula and maxillary tooth, and a pig humerus. All three bones were from the left side. The probable aurochs and pig could not be aged, but the cattle scapula was fused and therefore at least 7&#8211;10 months old at death following Silver (1969). Its neck measured approximately 54.3mm (SLC; following von den Driesch 1976). The pig humerus may have been broken at the midshaft when fresh (i.e. likely broken for bone marrow), but was in too poor condition to be certain. The tertiary fill included a probable cattle distal tibia, again from the left side, and a right maxillary tooth. Age at death could not be determined.

This small assemblage demonstrates the presence of domestic cattle and pigs (which may be wild or domestic) at the site together with aurochs. Though a very small assemblage, this has parallels with those found at other long barrows in the county. Cattle bones have often been associated with long barrows (Grigson 1966), both as primary and later deposits. Cattle or aurochs bones have been recovered from primary fills of the ditches of Amesbury Barrow 42, Fussell's Lodge, Horslip, Millbarrow and South Street (Worley 2013). At WS71 the assemblage is from a ditch recut and its date is uncertain. As an assemblage, it is of limited value for interpretation of activities at the site. However, it may prove more informative in the light of any assemblages from future excavations.


Internet Archaeology is an open access journal based in the Department of Archaeology, University of York. Except where otherwise noted, content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY) Unported licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that attribution to the author(s), the title of the work, the Internet Archaeology journal and the relevant URL/DOI are given.

Terms and Conditions | Legal Statements | Privacy Policy | Cookies Policy | Citing Internet Archaeology

Internet Archaeology content is preserved for the long term with the Archaeology Data Service. Help sustain and support open access publication by donating to our Open Access Archaeology Fund.