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High-resolution isotopic evidence of specialised cattle herding in the European Neolithic

Gerling, Claudia and Doppler, Thomas and Heyd, Volker and Knipper, Corina and Kuhn, Thomas and Lehmann, Moritz F. and Pike, Alistair W. G. and Schibler, Jörg. (2017) High-resolution isotopic evidence of specialised cattle herding in the European Neolithic. PLoS ONE, 12 (7). e0180164.

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Abstract

Reconstructing stock herding strategies and land use is key to comprehending past human social organization and economy. We present laser-ablation strontium and carbon isotope data from 25 cattle (Bos taurus) to reconstruct mobility and infer herding management at the Swiss lakeside settlement of Arbon Bleiche 3, occupied for only 15 years (3384±3370 BC). Our results reveal three distinct isotopic patterns that likely reflect different herding strategies: 1) localized cattle herding, 2) seasonal movement, and 3) herding away from the site year-round. Different strategies of herding are not uniformly represented in various areas of the settlement, which indicates specialist modes of cattle management. The pressure on local fodder capacities and the need for alternative herding regimes must have involved diverse access to grazing resources. Consequently, the increasing importance of cattle in the local landscape was likely to have contributed to the progress of socio-economic differentiation in early agricultural societies in Europe.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geographie > Physiogeographie und Umweltwandel (Kuhn)
05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Prähistorische und Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie (IPNA) > Archäozoologie (Schibler)
05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Umweltgeowissenschaften > Geochemie Stoffkreisläufe (Lehmann)
UniBasel Contributors:Gerling, Claudia and Doppler, Thomas and Kuhn, Thomas and Lehmann, Moritz F and Schibler, Jörg M.
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Public Library of Science
e-ISSN:1932-6203
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:10 Sep 2018 15:15
Deposited On:24 Oct 2017 06:51

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