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From wolf to dog of the peat bogs Canid remains in lakeside settlements between the Alps and the Jura Du loup au chien des tourbieres Les restes de canides sur les sites lacustres entre Alpes et Jura



From wolf to dog of the peat bogs Canid remains in lakeside settlements between the Alps and the Jura Du loup au chien des tourbieres Les restes de canides sur les sites lacustres entre Alpes et Jura



Revue de Paleobiologie Volume Special, 10: 171-183



The purpose of this contribution is to provide a synthesis concerning the possible utilisation, size and proportions of dogs in the Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements of the North Alpine region, situated between Switzerland and the French Jura. The majority of the canid bones were excavated from lakeside settlements and are therefore in an excellent state of preservation. Their remains are generally more frequent in these than in other sites. It is therefore possible that the symbolic or religious significance of these bones has been underestimated. Utilisation of dogs both for food and the exploitation of fur, are considered here. The symbolic value of the dog is indicated by bone and tooth adornments, manufactured from canine teeth and metapodials. No one definitive conclusion can be drawn from the qualitative and quantitative results. Rather, in these Neolithic and Bronze Age settlements, these animals were important on many levels, both symbolic and economic. The Neolithic settlements show a relative uniformity in the size of dogs that were kept. The estimated average withers height is 40-45 cm, with only slight regional variation. A slight increase in this figure can be seen towards the end of the Neolithic period. A clear size difference can be observed during the later Bronze Age with withers height increasing to an average of 61 cm.

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