Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


2 October 2011

Domestic and wild ungulate dietary traits at Kouphovouno (Sparta, Greece): implications for livestock management and paleoenvironment in the Neolithic

Florent Rivals, Armelle Gardeisen & Jean Cantuel Journal of Archaeological Science 38.3 (March 2011): 528-537.


The objective for this study is to explore interspecific variations in domestic and wild ungulate diets and management at the Neolithic site of Kouphovouno (Sparta, southern Greece). We tested four hypotheses related to environmental context and livestock management using, for the first time, a combination of mesowear and microwear analyses on a Neolithic site. We identified interspecific differences between ungulate taxa, especially between wild and domestic ungulates, however there is no significant difference between Ovis and Capra. There is no diachronic change in diet from the Middle Neolithic to the Late Neolithic. Changes in animal utilization are not reflected in their diet. Whatever the purpose of the husbandry, animals had access to the same food resources. The study of dental wear patterns gave some insights regarding the management practices for the domestic livestock as well as paleoenvironment through the study of wild ungulates.


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