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Random hunting and the composition of faunal samples from archaeological excavations a modern example from new zealand


Journal of Archaeological Science 3(4): 321-328
Random hunting and the composition of faunal samples from archaeological excavations a modern example from new zealand
The ability of analyses of the age- and sex-composition of faunal samples from archaeological excavations to permit reliable inferences concerning prehistoric culling practices and, in particular, to distinguish between wild and domesticated animals is investigated by examining the demographic composition of 14 groups of red deer (Cervus elaphus) shot at random from a helicopter in the Southern Alps of New Zealand in early 1975. Such random hunting can produce samples of bones that are apparently biased with respect to age and/or sex. The implications of these findings for prehistoric studies are discussed briefly with particular reference to the exploitation of red deer in Italy and Switzerland, and greater caution in excavating and analyzing faunal samples is urged.

Accession: 006255997

DOI: 10.1016/0305-4403(76)90068-6

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