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

Beglane, Fiona; Baker, Karis; Carden, Ruth F.; Hoelzel, A. Rus; Lamb, Angela L.; Fhionnghaile, Rita Mhig; Miller, Holly; Sykes, Naomi. 2018 Ireland's fallow deer: their historical, archaeological and biomolecular records. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy: Archaeology, Culture, History, Literature. 1-25.

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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 isotopic data from both medieval and post‐medieval samples to address this lack. The paper identifies a peak in the presence of fallow deer 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, isotopic study identifies two possible first‐generation imports, one dating from the medieval and one from the post‐medieval periods.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 00358991
Date made live: 26 Jul 2018 13:35 +0 (UTC)

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