Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports vol:2 pages:215-226
The pig predominates the zooarchaeological assemblage of the second Iron Age settlement of Levroux Les Arènes, in a context characterised by intensive craft and trade activities. The pattern of pig mortality profiles (targeting two-year-old animals), standardized butchery cut-marks and the underoccurrence of ham-bearing bones suggest there was standardized pork production potentially
designed for trade. This hypothesis was investigated through enamel δ18O analysis, allowing the seasonality of pig births to be determined and the reasons for a particular age class in the kill-off patterns to be explained. Results reveal that pig births were spread across more than half a year, suggesting that slaughter was not seasonally constrained, but was performed to target a specific age class and weight/size at death, thus supporting the hypothesis of standardized pork production in
Levroux Les Arènes. For the first time, the stable isotope approach - sequential δ18O analysis in pig incisors developed on a modern reference set - has been performed on an archaeological assemblage, after methodological adaptation. The results constitute the first zooarchaeological evidence of such a standardization of meat production from the second century onwards in Gaul.