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Ownership and Exploitation of Land and Natural Resources in the Roman World$
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Paul Erdkamp, Koenraad Verboven, and Arjan Zuiderhoek

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198728924

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728924.001.0001

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Changes in Animal Husbandry as a Consequence of Developing Social and Economic Patterns from the Roman Mediterranean Context

Changes in Animal Husbandry as a Consequence of Developing Social and Economic Patterns from the Roman Mediterranean Context

Chapter:
(p.249) 14 Changes in Animal Husbandry as a Consequence of Developing Social and Economic Patterns from the Roman Mediterranean Context
Source:
Ownership and Exploitation of Land and Natural Resources in the Roman World
Author(s):

Michael MacKinnon

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728924.003.0014

Integrating zooarchaeological and ancient literary evidence for animals in Roman antiquity allows a more comprehensive account of livestock change to emerge. Such linkages facilitate understanding of the identification, development, spread, trade, and manipulation of domestic livestock breeds in the Roman Mediterranean. Biometric data from zooarchaeological remains indicate general ‘improvements’ and height increases occur among cattle, sheep, and pigs, but neither equally nor simultaneously across areas of the Mediterranean. Rather, select traits in animals, such as height, weight, stamina, strength, meat and fat content, among other characteristics and products, are variously manipulated during Roman times in efforts to breed livestock that best catered to the social and economic demands of different regions of the empire. This integrative approach provides a more holistic picture of animal use and economics during antiquity by highlighting the shrewdness, efficiency, adaptability, innovation, and regionalism of the Romans in terms of animal husbandry and breeding tactics.

Keywords:   zooarchaeology, Roman Mediterranean, animal varieties, domestic livestock, breeding, diet, economy, animal husbandry, biometry

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