Bruce Levitan notes this practice to have been taking place at
Chichester Cattlemarket, West Sussex, during the 1st-2nd century AD.
Not only had the diastema of the mandibles been treated in this way,
but also at the premaxilla/maxillary 'joint', which had in many cases
been chopped/deliberately broken.
See page 244 in Levitan, B. 1989, 'The vertebrate remains from
Chichester Cattlemarket' in Down, A (ed), Chichester Excavations. VI.
Chichester: Phillimore. pp.242-76.
On 30/01/2012, Kevin Rielly <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Dear all,
> Dobney et al 1996 referred to an unusual bone modification where cattle
> mandibles (taken from late Roman Lincoln), have been burnt along the basal
> edge of the horizontal ramus limited to the area between the diastema and
> the first adult molar, accompanied by breakage in approximately the same
> area. He mentioned finding a few other examples, for example from 2nd/3rd
> century York. Recently I have turned up quite a few such mandibles from 2nd
> to 4th century deposits in the City of London and also from a 1st century
> site in Northern Kent. It often follows that particular oddities become less
> odd when they have been pointed out, so I wonder if such modifications have
> been noticed by anyone else working in Britain, from other Roman sites or
> perhaps extending beyond or prior to the Roman era.
> This subject has been mentioned once before on zooarch (back in April, 2003)
> but in response to a query about similar mandibles from Reims rather than
> from these shores.
> All the best
> The publication I'm referring to is
> Dobney, K M, Jaques, S D, and Irving, B G, 1996 Of butchers and breeds:
> Report on vertebrate remains from various sites in the city of Lincoln,
> Lincoln Archaeol Ser 5, Lincoln
> ....and the mandibles are described on pp25-26.
Dr Martyn G. Allen
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