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Subject:

Re: British beef? - a reply

From:

Jacqui Mulville <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Jacqui Mulville <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 10 Aug 2000 11:22:20 +0100

Content-Type:

Text/Plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

ipm.txt (49 lines)

Well I am off on my hols soon but I have penned an initial 
reply - if anyone wants to put their name to it or spice it
up or contest my assertions let me know.  We should email 
it soon ready for sunday.

Dear Observer, 

We welcome your interest in the diet of ancient people 
however we feel the article "British beef? The Romans 
relished it first" to be mis-leading. Cattle have been an 
important part of our economy and diet since the 
introduction of this species in the Neolithic. In Southern 
Britain this equates to four millenia before the Romans 
arrived.  

The evidence for beef consumption is overwhelming.  Stable
isotope analysis of human bone indicates a high level of 
animal protein in our diet throughout prehistory. Analysis 
of pottery residues has identified the presence of both 
beef and milk in prehistoric vessels.  Animal bones found on
archaeological sites contain a high proportion of 
cattle amongst the domestic species, and butchery on these
bones indicates the removal of meat.  

There are regional variations throughout Britain both in 
space and time; some areas and periods have differing 
amounts of the major food animals: cattle, sheep and pig. 
However taken as a whole, cattle would have provided the 
majority of protein in the human diet. 

It is true to say that Roman-British sites have a higher
proportion of cattle that the preceding Iron Age sites. 
However in the UK we have been eating 'British Beef' for at 
least 6 thousand years.

yours etc.

----------------------
Jacqui Mulville,
EH Regional Science Advisor (E. Mids)
Oxford University Museum,
Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PW
Tel: 01865-272996 Fax: 01865-272970




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