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, e20748- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
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 Oland 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.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 6, no 6, e20748- p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-156083DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020748ISI: 000292033700015OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-156083DiVA: diva2:430677