6.2.7 Biometry

In view of the small sample size, only limited interpretation could be drawn from the biometrical data from Brough.


The astragalus is a useful source of metrical data because of its high archaeological visibility and its consistent relationship to overall body size. Therefore, as a general indication of the size of the Brough livestock, it is useful to compare the greatest lateral length (GLl) measurements with contemporaneous sites. The average GLl of astragali for Brough is 62.8mm. This is at the upper end of the size range for this period (Table 44). A bivariate plot (Fig.69) of distal breadth (Bd) against depth of the lateral side (Dl) for Brough and Wilcote (Smith 1996) shows these data to fall within the middle of the range for the much larger Lincoln sample. The cattle at Brough appear to be of average size for the period.

Site Cattle astragalus Caprovid humerus
  GLl BT
Welton Road, Brough 62.8 26.0
Lincoln (4th century) 61.5 27.0

Wilcote (4th century)

63.0 -
Tanner Row, York 61.9 -
Carr Naze, Filey - 25.0
Table 44: Welton Road, Brough: summary of compared average measurements from sites of similar dates

Fig.69: Welton Road, Brough, and Wilcote: bivariate plot of cattle astragalus measurements

Biometrical archive for cattle


Biometrical analysis of the caprovid data from Welton Road, Brough, is limited to the most frequently occurring elements, the distal humerus and the distal radius. Comparisons of the BT (breadth of trochlea) measurement on the distal humerus shows the Brough livestock once again to be in the middle of the size range for animals of this period (Table 44). However, the bivariate plot for the Bd/Dd (distal breadth: distal depth) measurements on the distal tibia (Fig.70) shows a relatively narrow range when compared to the Lincoln sample. The Brough individuals are consistently more gracile than those from Lincoln, being of a size more similar to the late Roman sample from Filey (Dobney et al. 1996b). This is an interesting observation and supports the argument that provisioning of rural sites might have been from local unimproved livestock while the larger, possibly improved, animals were used to provide the large urban markets (ibid.).

figure 70
Fig.70: Welton Road, Brough: bivariate plot of caprovid distal tibia measurements

Biometrical archive for caprovids

The other mammals

No measurements were taken of the pig bones.

A single horse metacarpal measurement provided a withers height (Fock 1966) which indicates an animal standing at 14.2 hands (one hand = 4 inches), a large pony, not untypical of the period.

No direct metrical comparison can be made with the dog bones as there were no complete specimens. However all three recorded fragments were probably from small, terrier-sized individuals.

Biometrical archive for horse

Biometrical archive for dogs


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Last updated: Tue Nov 28 2000