Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Archeozoology of dogs in fort-village complex at Vindolanda in northern England

Bennett, D., Campbell, G., & Timm, R. M. (2016). The dogs of Roman Vindolanda: Morphometric techniques in differentiating domestic and wild canids. Archaeofauna 25: 79-106

 The Roman-era fort-village complex at Vindolanda in northern England, occupied from about A.D. 50 to A.D. 415, has yielded extensive well-preserved remains of the domestic dog, Canis familiaris. Herein, utilizing a novel combination of biostatistical techniques to identify parameters that best differentiate canids, we test the hypothesis that the inhabitants of Vindolanda selectively bred dogs. We also differentiate dog remains from wolves and foxes, similarly-sized canids that occur throughout Eurasia. The Vindolanda dogs are less morphologically diverse than modern dogs but much more diverse than dogs of the British Neolithic and Iron Age. They are as morphologically diverse as dogs excavated from other Romano–British sites, and only slightly less diverse than the whole known population of Roman-era dogs sampled from across Europe and North Africa. Vindolanda dogs thus underwent greater directional selection than expected from natural environmental forces, suggesting that selective breeding rather than random panmixis maintained diversity. The Vindolanda dog sample will make an ideal subject for DNA analysis, since it contains dogs undergoing incipient diversification from dingo-like ancestors.

Bennett, D., & Timm, R. M. (2016). The dogs of Roman Vindolanda, Part II: Time-stratigraphic occurrence, ethnographic comparisons, and biotype reconstruction. Archaeofauna 25:  107-126

The Roman fort-village complex at Vindolanda in northern England has yielded extensive well-preserved remains of domestic dogs, Canis familiaris. Herein, we pose the questions—did the Romans breed for distinctive dog morphotypes, or were dogs breeding panmictically; and if dogs were bred, was it for functionality.
Biotype reconstructions of the eight dog morphotypes known from Roman Vindolanda
We address these questions utilizing remains that are correlated to age and context; morphometric analysis; dental wear stage; bone pathology; pawprints impressed in tiles, and contemporary written records and artwork. All age classes of dogs are represented. There is no evidence that dogs were butchered for food; survivorship curves suggest the typical U-shaped distribution found in populations at equilibrium. Small, medium-sized, and large dogs are represented with frequency changing over time and corresponding to change in the region of origin of the resident military cohort. Husbandry is confirmed on an individual with healed wounds and with the discovery of a beehive-shaped wattle doghouse. Dogs were used extensively in hunting wild game and bred for that activity. By integrating many diverse kinds of data we are able reconstruct biotypes of Roman dogs, greatly facilitating the interpretation of their functionality.

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