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The Neglected Goat: A New Method to Assess the Role of the Goat in the English Middle Ages
Author: Lenny Salvagno. Paperback; 203x276mm; 888 pages; 744 figures, 351 tables (colour throughout). 113 2020. Available both in print and Open Access. Printed ISBN 9781789696295. Epublication ISBN 9781789696301.
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Distinguishing between the bones of sheep and goats is a notorious challenge in zooarchaeology. Several methods have been proposed to facilitate this task, largely based on macro-morphological traits.

This approach, which is routinely adopted by zooarchaeologists, although still valuable, has also been shown to have limitations: morphological discriminant traits can differ in different sheep/ goat populations and a correct identification is highly dependent upon experience, as well as the availability of appropriate reference collections and the degree to which a researcher is prepared to ‘risk’ an identification.

The Neglected Goat provides a new, more objective and transparent methodology, based on a combination of morphological and biometrical analyses, to distinguish between sheep and goat post cranial bones. Additionally, on the basis of the newly proposed approach, it reassesses the role of the goat in medieval England.

There are several historical and archaeological questions concerning the role of this animal that have so far remained unanswered: why is the goat commonly recorded in the Domesday Book, when it appears to be so scarce in the contemporary archaeological record? Is the goat under-represented in the archaeological record or over-represented in the Domesday Book? Why is this animal, when identified in English medieval animal bone assemblages, almost exclusively represented by horncores?

Through the investigation of a number of English sheep and goat medieval assemblages, this study sheds light on these questions, and suggests that the goat was indeed rarer than the Domesday Book suggests.

About the Author
Lenny Salvagno has an Honours Degree in Cultural Heritage with Archaeology from the University of Parma (Italy) and a PhD in zooarchaeology from the University of Sheffield (UK). At Sheffield, she also completed a two-year Post-Doc (funded by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung) focussing on changes in pig husbandry during the Late Medieval-Early Modern transition in England. She is now an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Archaeology in Sheffield and a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Post- Doctoral Fellow at the Institute of Palaeoanatomy, domestication research and veterinary history, at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich (Germany). Lenny’s main interests are in animal domestication and husbandry intensification, the use of animals in medieval and post-medieval Britain, as well as Bronze and Iron Age Italy, ritual deposits, and the use of statistics and geometric morphometrics in zooarchaeology. She is also passiona oarchaeology and the presentation of this field of study to the general public.


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