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Animals, Economy and Status: Integrating Zooarchaeological and Historical Data in the Study of Dudley Castle, West Midlands (c.1100-1750)

Richard Thomas
Publication Year:
240pp. Includes 161 figures, maps, plans, drawings and photographs. With additional material online (three Appendices of metrical data).
ISBN 10:
BAR number:


This volume charts the changing human-animal relationship at one particular location, Dudley Castle, West Midlands, over several centuries. The temporal span considered (the 11th-18th centuries) is, arguably, one of the most formative in the evolving relationship between humans and animals. The period was one of profound economic, social and demographic change, witnessing not only the evolution of modern breeds of domestic animals, but also a change in the way animals were perceived and treated. In this study, the animal bones recovered from archaeological excavations at Dudley Castle have been integrated with historical documentation to provide a basis from which to explore these issues. The size of the faunal assemblage, its chronology and location, combine to make the results of this analysis invaluable in enhancing our current state of knowledge. Just as human-animal relationships in the period reflected a combination of economic, social and cultural values, so the questions addressed in this volume reflect this diversity and inter-connectivity at a number of different scales. Thus, site-specific questions, as well as broader trends within the social and economic landscape of the medieval and post-medieval periods in England are considered. This study also attempts to explore dietary patterns on site, and the way in which the acquisition and consumption of food was used in the negotiation of social relationships.