The size of domestic cattle, sheep, goats and pigs in the Czech Lengyel and Eneolithic Periods: Temporal variations and their causes

René Kyselý

Resumen


Osteometric data were analysed from the main domestic animals existing in central Europe during the Neolithic and Eneolithic (Chalcolithic) periods, specifically cattle (Bos taurus), sheep (Ovis aries), goats (Capra hircus), and pigs (Sus domesticus). The results are based on a combined evaluation of selected dental and postcranial measurements (in total nearly 1100 measured values) obtained from archaeological material from the Bohemian and Moravian (Czech Republic) Lengyel and Eneolithic periods (4700-2200 BC, including Moravian Painted Ware, Funnelbeaker, Baden-Řivnáč, and Bell-Beaker Cultures for example) and adjacent Neolithic and Early Bronze Age cultures (Linear and Stroked Pottery, Únětice). Results on the animals´ body size and their variation over time are presented, and possible interpretations of the secular changes in size are discussed in detail. Apart from the general, well known trend showing a reduction in cattle size over time, some anomalies were found. Based on osteometric comparisons, there are indications of cross-breeding between wild and domestic forms and/or the local domestication of cattle in the Bohemian Řivnáč Culture (3200-2800 BC), and of pigs in the Proto-Eneolithic to Funnelbeaker Cultures (4300-3350 BC). The observed body-size increase in sheep in the territory of the Czech Republic during the Early-Middle Eneolithic corresponds to the previously hypothesised importation of a new breed throughout Europe during the second half of the 4th millennium BC.

Keywords: Osteometry, Body mass, Domestication, Cross-breeding, Chalcolithic, Bos taurus, Ovis aries, Capra hircus, Sus domesticus, Aurochs, Wild boar

Resumen:

Este trabajo analiza datos osteométricos de los principales animales domésticos centroeuropeos durante el Neolítico y Eneolítico (Calcolítico) como la vaca (Bos taurus), la oveja (Ovis aries), la cabra (Capra hircus) y el cerdo (Sus domesticus). Los resultados se basan en cerca de 1.100 medidas dentarias y postcraneales obtenidos a partir de materiales arqueológicos de Bohemia y Moravia (República Checa) en culturas como la de Lengyel y otras calcolíticas en un rango de entre 4700-2200 a. C. En ellas están presentes horizontes de las cerámicas pintadas de Moravia, cultura de los vasos de embudo (TBK), cultura de Baden, así como el Campaniforme, además de otras culturas adyacentes como la de Cerámica a Bandas (LBK), la de Cerámicas impresas (Stichbandkeramik, STK) y la de Únětice. Se presentan datos sobre tallas corporales y su variación diacrónica valorando pormenorizadamente las posibles causas de los cambios seculares detectados. Además de una bien constatada tendencia referida a la progresiva reducción de la talla del vacuno con el tiempo, se detectan una serie de anomalías. De este modo, se especula sobre posibles cruces habidos entre el vacuno doméstico y salvaje o una posible domesticación local del uro en la cultura Bohemia de Řivnáč (3200-2800 a.C.), así como del cerdo en las culturas Proto-Eneolíticas y de cerámica de embudo (4300-3350 a.C.). El incremento de talla del ovino en el territorio de la república Checa durante el Eneolítico Antiguo y Medio, en cambio, refuerza la postulada importación de una nueva raza de oveja en Europa durante la segunda mitad del cuarto milenio a.C.

Palabras clave: Osteometría, Masa corporal, Domesticación, Cruzamiento, Calcolítico, Bos taurus, Ovis aries, Capra hircus, Sus domesticus, Uro, Jabalí


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