9.1 The Mammal and Bird Bone by Catherine Smith

9.1.1 The Samples

Although animal bones were recovered from the 1980-1 excavations at the Carmelite Friary site (12 Martin's Lane; site code E19), they were not initially separated from the human skeletal collection. However, following subsequent excavations at the Friary in the 1990s at the Green, where the animal bones had proved to form an interesting assemblage, it was felt that detailed analysis of the animal bone from the initial excavation might prove worthwhile.

At the Green (site code E38), mammal bones were recovered from Areas A, B, C, H, J and K. The best preserved material appeared to come from Areas A, B and C, while the bones from Areas H, J and K were more friable, showed more abrasion and consisted of smaller fragments. The amount of unidentifiable material attributed to indeterminate mammal was greater in Areas H, J and K than in Areas A, B and C. Results from Areas A, B and C, taken together, are therefore probably more reliable than from other areas of the site. The small quantity of material found in Areas J and K is not included in the bone data tables since phasing for these trenches does not correlate with other areas.

Destruction of the buildings in the Reformation period, and subsequent robbing of the stone work, may have led to some disturbance or mixing of medieval with post-medieval material. This is apparent from the incidence of stray human bone included in the assemblage, and which occurred in phases dating to as late as the 20th century.

9.1.2 Methods And Measurement

The animal bones from 12 Martin's Lane were separated from the human material during analysis of the human skeletons. Although most of the animal bones had been marked with their original context numbers, some fragments were too small to be marked in this way. This was particularly true of the smaller fish bones. Other fragments had broken, making the numbers illegible. All unmarked bones were therefore treated as unstratified. The remainder were successfully sorted into their original context groupings and are described under the phases to which these contexts belong.

Initial sorting of the bones from the later excavations at the Green was far more straightforward, the bones having been retained in discrete stratigraphic groupings on excavation.

Mammal bones from both seasons of excavation were identified by direct comparison with modern reference skeletal material and were ascribed to particular animal species and anatomical element wherever possible. Bones of sheep and goat were recorded separately only for bones such as the horn cores and metapodials but in most cases were designated sheep/goat. For those bones whose specific or anatomical origins were unclear, the descriptions 'large ungulate', 'small ungulate' and 'indeterminate mammal' were used. All vertebrae other than the first two cervical (atlas and axis), as well as all ribs, were recorded in this way. Occasionally unidentified long bones were also described as large or small ungulate, but were most usually recorded as indeterminate mammal.

Anatomical measurements were made in accordance with the scheme of von den Driesch (1976), with additional measurements for the humerus following Legge and Rowley-Conwy (1988, 24). Mandibular tooth eruption and wear patterns were assessed using Grant's (1982) scheme for cattle, sheep/goats and pigs. Sheep/goat mandibles were also assessed using Payne's (1973) method.

9.1.3 Species Present

At both excavations at the Carmelite Friary, 12 Martin's Lane and the Green, bones from domestic mammals predominated (see Table 42, Table 43, Table 44 and Table 45). At both sites, cattle, sheep/goat, goat, pig, horse, dog and cat were all present. However, only a very few bones could definitely be identified as goat at either site. At 12 Martin's Lane, wild mammals were represented by bones of hare (Lepus capensis), fox (Vulpes vulpes), weasel (Mustela nivalis) and cetacean. At the Green, red deer (Cervus elaphus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), hare, rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and fox/gracile dog were found.


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