Identification of highly fragmented mammal bone from COT95

edited by J.D. Richards from report by Samantha K. Bell, Kristine Birchall and Don Brothwell

The mammalian bone from COT95 was highly fragmented. Bone fragments of sheep, cattle, horse, pig and dog were identified, as well as one tibiotarsus from the fowl Gallus. Only one possible pathology was seen, in a horse navicular bone, but this diagnosis has not been confirmed by X-ray. In total, 140 fragments and 146 teeth were identified to species. This is unsurprising, as tooth enamel is generally more resistant to decay than is bone. Sheep teeth were the most abundant identified bone fragments, comprising 40.6% of all identified fragments. As horse and cattle teeth, being larger and more robust, are more likely to persist in the soil, it can be suggested that sheep were the most abundant species by far. Indeed, when teeth are excluded sheep bone fragments (40.9%) were only less abundant than the more robust cattle bone fragments (45.7%). When teeth are included, sheep bone fragments comprise some 60.1% of the total identified, with cattle coming in a poor second place with 28.7%. Horse, pig and dog fragments were rarely identified (3.1%, 3.5% and 2.1% respectively).