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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / A slice of veal with your stale bread? Faunal remains from the 18th century latrine at the abbey of Clairefontaine (Belgium)

Quentin Goffette, Mona Court-Picon, Sidonie Preiss, Davy Herremans and Isabelle Bernard (ed.) (2013)

A slice of veal with your stale bread? Faunal remains from the 18th century latrine at the abbey of Clairefontaine (Belgium)

University of West Bohemia, Pilsen, European Association of Archaeologists (ISBN: 978-80-261-0255-7).

Analysis of faunal remains coming from archaeological contexts of abbeys have been carried out in several European countries. In Belgium, although such studies are available for the north of the country (Flanders), they are still lacking for the southern part (Wallonia). The study of animal bones unearthed in the Cistercian nunnery of Clairefontaine (1247-1794) helps to fill this gap. Here, we focus on the 18th century latrine in which animal remains were collected by hand. In addition, samples were taken in the filling of the structure for a total of 80 liters of sediments and were wet sieved to recover the small bone fragments. The information gathered during the faunal analysis are presented and then compared with historical sources, especially the account books of the abbey, to provide a more accurate insight into the diet of the sisters. It appears that consumption of meat was not uncommon. The relative diversity of foods consumed and some unusual findings are indicative of the high status of the abbey of Clairefontaine, which is also revealed by plant remains and material culture.
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