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Working Animals and Skeletal Lesions : Paleopathology of Cattle and Horse in Iron Age and Medieval Öland, Sweden
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Central to this thesis is the relationship between animal husbandry practices and the associated pathological conditions. Since bone elements from the extremities are subjected to abnormal load when animals are put to hard work this research aims to go further and interpret the prevalence of varying lesions and their connection with animal husbandry by using methods such as osteometric analysis, conventional radiograpic and bone mineral study, as well as incorporated molecular analysis.

The results show that approximately 15% of the cattle extremities at Eketorp ringfort had some kind of skeletal lesion. Cattle metatarsals exhibited a higher frequency of lesions than metacarpals. Skeletal lesions connected to draught use were more frequently recorded on bone elements from male than from female cattle. The anterior phalanges 1-2 had a higher occurence of lesions than the posterior elements. In addition, there was a significant correlation between larger sized animals and lesions. Osteological measurements were also investigated using molecular sex identification. Several measurements in both fragmented and complete metapodials proved useful in separating cows from oxen or bulls.

Conventional radiographics were used on cattle metapodials from Eketorp ringfort to investigate the age structure in slaughtered cattle over 3 years of age. In phase III more male cattle were slaughtered before 8 years of age which could reflect the character of the site. The bone density analysis showed that modern cattle metapodials had higher values than the archaeological specimens which made intepretation of post-depositional changes problematic. The molecular analysis did not show any selected breed or specific type of animal. All but two of the Eketorp cattle belonged to haplogroup Y2 which is common in Southern Europe. The Y1 haplogroup (one in phase II and one in phase III) is common in Western and Northern Europe. The results point to that the Ölandic cattle population was homogeneous over time. The results from thirty-four bone elements show that twenty-five bones belonged to animals with red or light coat coloration and nine of uncertain, possibly partly black colour.

Place, publisher, year, pages
Stockholm: Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm Univeristy, 2012. 69 p.
Series
Theses and papers in osteoarchaeology, ISSN 1652-4098 ; 7
Keyword [en]
Skeletal lesions, draught use of cattle, sacrificed horses, Iron Age, Middle Ages, Eketorp ringfort, Skedemosse wetland, Öland, sweden
National Category
Humanities
Research subject
Osteoarchaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-82619 (URN)978-91-7447-603-3 (ISBN)oai:DiVA.org:su-82619 (OAI)diva2:570717 (DiVA)
Public defence
2012-12-19, föreläsningssalen, Botaniska institutionen, Lilla Frescativägen 5, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Accepted. Paper 4: Manuscript. Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from2012-11-27 Created:2012-11-20 Last updated:2012-11-22Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Skeletal changes in lower limb bones in domestic cattle from Eketorp ringfort on the Öland island in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Skeletal changes in lower limb bones in domestic cattle from Eketorp ringfort on the Öland island in Sweden
(English)In: International Journal of Paleopathology, ISSN 1879-9825Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Abstract [en]

Abstract: In this paper the occurrence of skeletal changes in joints has been investigated in cattleextremities. The bone elements derive from the archaeological site Eketorp ringfort on the Ölandisland in Sweden dated between Iron Age - Middle Age (ca 300 - 1200/50 A.D.). The analysis wasconducted in order to examine skeletal lesions and their connection to traction work. Different skeletallesions were recorded and the joint surface on metapodia and phalanges was divided in 4-7 sites toexamine if different types of lesions were located on particular sites of the articular facets or ifdifferent types of lesions were noted in bone elements from fore- and hindlimbs. The results show thatmetatarsals exhibited a higher frequency of pathologies in both phases compared to metacarpals whileanterior phalanges 1 and 2 had a higher occurrence of lesions than the posterior elements. The studyalso demonstrates that the type and location of depressions on joint surfaces are unevenly distributedbetween bone elements. Furthermore the results show that the occurrence of skeletal lesions weremore common in robust animals.

Keyword
Cattle; traction work; paleopathology; skeletal changes; zooarchaeology; methodology;
National Category
Humanities
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-68163 (URN)
Available from2012-01-03 Created:2012-01-03 Last updated:2012-11-20Bibliographically approved
2. Ostemetric and molecular sexing of cattle metapodia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ostemetric and molecular sexing of cattle metapodia
2012 (English)In: Journal of Archaelogical Science, ISSN 0305-4403, Vol. 39, no 1, 121-127Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sex identification of skeletal remains based on morphology is a common practice in Zooarchaeology. Knowledge of the sex distribution of slaughtered or hunted animals may help in the interpretation of e.g. hunting or breeding strategies. Here we investigate and evaluate several osteometric criteria used to assess sex of cattle (Bos taurus) metapodia using molecular sex identification as a control of the metric data. The bone assemblage used to assess these new criteria derives from the Eketorp ringfort in the southern parts of Öland Island in Sweden. One hundred metapodia were selected for molecular analysis of sex and we were able to genetically identify the sex of 76 of these elements. The combined results of the molecular and osteometric analyses confirm a significant size difference between females and males for several measurements for both metacarpals (Mc) and metatarsals (Mt). Our results show that some measurements are applicable for metapodials. These measurements include the slenderness indices such as the Mennerich’s index 1 and 3, as well as the distal breadth (Bd), the breadth between the articular crests (Bcr), and the maximum breadth of the lateral trochlea (BFdl). We show that they can be used for sexing of both metacarpals and metatarsals. The latter measurements offer an opportunity to study fragmented elements and thus a higher number of elements may be utilized for morphological sexing of archaeological bones. Size comparisons of Mc and Mt may also aid in the separation of bulls and oxen.

Keyword
Osteometry, molecular sexing, ancient DNA, cattle metapodia, eketorp ringfort
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-68152 (URN)10.1016/j.jas.2011.09.009 (DOI)000297533300013 ()
Note
<p>4</p>Available from2012-01-03 Created:2012-01-03 Last updated:2012-11-20
3. Typing Late prehistoric Cows and Bulls-Osteology and Genetics of Cattle at the Eketorp ringfort on the Öland Island in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Typing Late prehistoric Cows and Bulls-Osteology and Genetics of Cattle at the Eketorp ringfort on the Öland Island in Sweden
2011 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 6, no 6, 1-8Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Human management of livestock and the presence of different breeds have been discussed in archaeozoology and animal breeding. Traditionally osteometrics has been the main tool in addressing these questions. We combine osteometrics with molecular sex identifications of 104 of 340 morphometrically analysed bones in order to investigate the use of cattle at the Eketorp ringfort on the Öland island in Sweden. The fort is dated to 300–1220/50 A.D., revealing three different building phases. In order to investigate specific patterns and shifts through time in the use of cattle the genetic data is evaluated in relation to osteometric patterns and occurrence of pathologies on cattle metapodia. Males were genotyped for a Y-chromosomal SNP in UTY19 that separates the two major haplogroups, Y1 and Y2, in taurine cattle. A subset of the samples were also genotyped for one SNP involved in coat coloration (MC1R), one SNP putatively involved in resistance to cattle plague (TLR4), and one SNP in intron 5 of the IGF-1 gene that has been associated to size and reproduction.

The results of the molecular analyses confirm that the skeletal assemblage from Eketorp is dominated by skeletal elements from females, which implies that dairying was important. Pathological lesions on the metapodia were classified into two groups; those associated with the use as draught animals and those lesions without a similar aetiology. The results show that while bulls both exhibit draught related lesions and other types of lesions, cows exhibit other types of lesions. Interestingly, a few elements from females exhibit draught related lesions. We conclude that this reflects the different use of adult female and male cattle.

Although we note some variation in the use of cattle at Eketorp between Iron Age and Medieval time we have found little evidence for the use of different types of animals for specific purposes. The use of specific (genetic) breeds seems to be a phenomenon that developed later than the Eketorp settlement.

National Category
Humanities
Research subject
Archaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-68160 (URN)10.1371/journal.pone.0020748.g006 (DOI)000292033700015 ()
Available from2012-01-03 Created:2012-01-03 Last updated:2012-11-20Bibliographically approved
4. Ageing cattle
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ageing cattle : The use of radiographic examinations on cattle metapodials at Eketorp ringfort, Öland, Sweden
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword
X-Ray, DXA, Bone density, Bone calcium, Cattle, Metapodials, Age, Paleopathology, Eketorp ringfort, Iron Age, Middle Age
National Category
Humanities
Research subject
Osteoarchaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-82604 (URN)
Available from2012-11-20 Created:2012-11-20 Last updated:2012-11-20Bibliographically approved
5. Chosen beasts?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Chosen beasts? : Paleopathology of horse and cattle in wetland sacrifices on the Öland island in Sweden.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Investigations of the prevalence of degenerative joint disease in modern horses have shown a correlation between degenerative joint disease and workload. In this paper the distribution of observed changes in the joints of the lower extremities in sacrificed horses at Skedemosse wetland was interpreted in the terms of whether the horses have been used for work. The occurrence of changes was divided in five groups depending on its severeness. The results show that there were different lesions in fore limb compare to those in hind limb. Fusion of Mc II and IV was in majority in the fore limbs. Those changes are most frequent seen in older animals. Degenerative joint disease was more common in the hind limbs whereof some resembled to those found in lame horses. However, the results indicate that not only lame horses were sacrificed. The finds of horse bones on mainland Sweden indicates that larger animals were sacrifieced compare to the Skedemosse horses. A comparison of withers height with contemporary horses on the island Gotland and mainland show that Skedemosse horses had a greater variation.

Keyword
Spavin; Iron Age horses; sacrificial; horse utilization; hock joint; degenerative joint disease; palaeopathology; archaeozoology; osteoarthrosis
National Category
History and Archaeology
Research subject
Osteoarchaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-72400 (URN)
Available from2012-02-10 Created:2012-02-10 Last updated:2012-11-20Bibliographically approved

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