Ireland’s fallow deer: their historical, archaeological and biomolecular records

Beglane, Fiona, Baker, Karis, Carden, Ruth, Hoelzel, A. Rus, Lamb, Angela L., Fhionnghaile, Rita Mhig, Miller, Holly and Sykes, Naomi (2018) Ireland’s fallow deer: their historical, archaeological and biomolecular records. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy: Archaeology, Culture, History, Literature, 118C . pp. 1-25. ISSN 0035-8991

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The Anglo-Normans first introduced fallow deer (Dama dama) to Ireland in the thirteenth century, however no biomolecular research has previously been undertaken to examine the timing, circumstances and impact of the arrival of this species. This study combines historical, zooarchaeological, genetic and iso-topic data from both medieval and post-medieval samples to address this lack of research. The paper identifies a peak in the presence of fallow deer in Ireland between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, with a corresponding peak in documentary evidence for their presence in the thirteenth century. The deer are predominantly male, and from castle sites, supporting the historical evidence for their link with elite hunting. The English origin of the source populations shows correspondence between the documentary evidence, suggesting a western bias—and genetic evidence—with a similarity to southern and western England. Furthermore a stable isotope study identifies two possible first-generation imports, one dating from the medieval period and one from the post-medieval period.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Deer, Historical archaeology, Bones, Haplotypes, Zooarchaeology, Isotopes, Irish history, Castles, Fallowing
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities > Department of Archaeology
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Miller, Holly
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2018 08:51
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 19:39

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