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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2020 / The introduction of the European fallow deer to the northern provinces of the Roman Empire: a multi-proxy approach to the Herstal skeleton (Belgium)

Fabienne Pigière, Denis Henrard, Naomi Sykes, Nathalie Suarez-Gonzalez and Gontran Sonet (2020)

The introduction of the European fallow deer to the northern provinces of the Roman Empire: a multi-proxy approach to the Herstal skeleton (Belgium)

Antiquity, 94(378):1501-1519.

Many exotic animal species were introduced to Northern Europe during the Roman period, including fallow deer (Dama dama). To date, however, finds of fallow deer bones at archaeological sites in this region have been sporadic and disarticulated, leaving uncertainty over their origins. This article presents the first known articulated fallow deer skeleton from Roman North-western Europe. Osteological, ancient DNA, radiocarbon dating and stable isotope analyses confirm that the species was established in this region by the Roman period, probably originating from translocated, rather than native, Mediterranean populations. Clarifying the origins of fallow deer in North-western Europe is critical for understanding the dynamics of species exchange around the Roman Empire.
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