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Får är får och get är get: utvärdering av osteologisk metod med stöd av arkeogenetik
Gotland University, School of Culture, Energy and Environment.
2013 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Sheep is Sheep and Goat is Goat : Evaluation of Osteological Method With the Support of Archaeogenetics (English)
Abstract [en]

The difficullty to distinguish between sheep and goats is a well-known problem in archaeology and osteology. Distinguishing sheep and goats in archaeological animal remains takes time and time is often limited for osteologists. Because of this difficulty osteologists and archaeozoologists often use the term sheep/goat or ”ovicaprids” in their analytical reports. But even if the term sheep/goat comprise both species, this is often not the case when archaeologists and osteologists interpret and present archaeological findings. Sheep usually dominates in the interpretations and is often seen as a more important animal than goats which ultimately lead to false representations of the species and their relation to humans in the past.

Zeder and Lapham (2010) have gathered criterias for post-cranial bone elements which show a high degree of reliability in osteological species determination between sheep and goats. However, when working on archaeological remains you do not know if the evaluation is done correctly.      In this thesis, the use of ocular osteological methods from by Zeder and Lapham (2010) are combined with genetical analyzis of selected sheep and goat bones from an archaeological assemblage in order to evaluate how well these osteological methods perform and assess which criterias on the bone elements can be seen as reliable when used to distinguish between the species.

According to the results, only three criterias of a total of 21 criterias are seen as reliable. It is also apparent that previous osteological experience is relevant for successfully distinguish between sheep and goat with these methods. However, several criterias show tendencies towards reliability and are probably affected by the small sample set for each bone element, few osteological analysts, and the fact that all genetically analyzed bones resulted in sheep.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 82 p.
Keyword [en]
Sheep, Goat, species differentiation, evaluation, archaeogenetics, Zeder & Lapham
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-203323OAI: diva2:636109
Subject / course
Archaeology (HGO)
Educational program
One-year master in archaeology (HGO)
Available from: 2013-08-16 Created: 2013-07-08 Last updated: 2013-08-16Bibliographically approved

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Theorell 2013(7259 kB)445 downloads
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