Healed impact trauma to a Neolithic cattle frontal bone: a posthuman perspective
journal contributionposted on 28.02.2019, 12:31 by E Banfield, A Stoll, R Thomas
Trauma associated with slaughter is identified occasionally archaeologically in the cranial remains of domesticated animals, with evidence for pole-axing occurring in Europe, especially from the Roman period onwards. The injury typically extends through the frontal bone and sinuses to penetrate the braincase, causing haemorrhage, loss of consciousness, brain damage, and death. Evidence for slaughter methods in the British Neolithic, however, is lacking. We report such evidence from a healed blunt-force impact trauma to the frontal bone of a domestic cattle skull from Beckhampton Road Neolithic long barrow, Wiltshire. The injury suggests a failed attempt at slaughter. To our knowledge, this is the first such report for domestic cattle from the British Neolithic. We contextualise this discovery, drawing on research into the role and meaning of faunal remains from Neolithic long barrows in Wiltshire. This work has been undertaken from a posthuman perspective. Thus, we demonstrate the opportunities for paleopathologists to inform and engage within posthumanist interpretative frameworks.