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Sorting the mandibular teeth of sheep from goat: The identification of sheep and goat on the basis of Neolithic dental material from eastern Syria

Brouwer, M. (2002) Sorting the mandibular teeth of sheep from goat: The identification of sheep and goat on the basis of Neolithic dental material from eastern Syria. Master's Thesis / Essay, Biology.

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Abstract

Sheep and goats have been a major source of subsistence in the Middle East since their domestication more than 10,000 years ago in the foothills or mountains of Southwest-Asia. For the deduction of the ecological and cultural relationships of animals and men, the identification of species and age is important. In this research, the teeth from sheep and goat, excavated in the Neolithic settlement Tell Bouqras are studied. The aim of the study is twofold. On one hand, the efficiencies and deficiencies of the identification methodology are tested. On the other hand, this study tries to reveal the ratio between the numbers of sheep and goat kept and also for what purpose the Neolithic inhabitants of Tell Bouqras kept their sheep and goat. The determination of the teeth has been done according to the new methodology developed by Helmer (2000) and Haistead et al. (in press). On the basis of characteristics described by both researchers, the mandibular premolars P3 and P4 and the molars Ml, M2 and M3 are identified as sheep or goat. The methodology seems to be a good method for separating the mandibular teeth of goat from those of sheep. Deficiencies of this methodology lie in the fact that with ageing, the identification of the teeth becomes less unambiguous. In this study, the ages at which 100% of a tooth type can be identified, and the fading of the characteristics caused by ageing is discussed. The methodology gives better results when applied to complete jaws than on individual teeth. This research points out that the number of sheep herded in the beginning of the Neolithic period in Tell Bouqras outnumber the amount of goat. The age at which most sheep and goat were slaughtered was approximately 25 months. The kill-off patterns indicate that both species were mainly herded for their meat. The kill-off patterns of sheep as well as the kill-off pattern of goat did not undergo major shifts during the inhabitation period of Tell Bouqras. Keywords: mandibular premolars and molars, determination characteristics, sheep:goat ratio, herding sheep and goat.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:31
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:31
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/9161

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