6.2.4 The economic base

The relative dietary importance of the three main domesticates can be more clearly presented if approximate carcass/meat weight calculations are made. There are numerous potential sources of error, but such calculations can be informative if used with caution. Based on data provided by modern livestock (Boessneck et al. 1971, 9), these calculations are determined using the following ratios; 7.3 sheep = 1 cow, and 2.3 sheep = 1 pig (after O'Connor 1991). The figures for Brough (Table 39 were arrived at by multiplying the live weight ratios by the NISP or MNI. The importance of cattle is increased, whilst that of pig is reduced, relative to values determined from NISP and MNI counts (see Table 39 ).

Cattle 59125 91 3300 75
Caprovid5362 8 1050 24
Pig170 1 51 1
Table 39: Welton Road, Brough: body weight ratios of main domesticates

Four of the seventeen horse bones bore cut marks indicating that horse-meat may have been eaten. With such a small sample size, however, the relative importance of horse-meat in the diet is impossible to assess. It is highly unlikley that this was the primary use of these animals or that horse-meat formed a significant part of the diet. In common with other contemporaneous rural and urban assemblages, the quantity of wild mammals is negligible (e.g. Dobney et al. 1996a, 50; Maltby 1979, 60; Smith 1996, 69).


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