International journal of osteoarchaeology vol:10 issue:4 pages:254-267
Although the aetiology of bone pathologies in cattle is poorly documented, various deformations in the skeleton have been attributed to draught exploitation in the archaeozoological literature. This paper summarizes the results of an osteological study that was undertaken on the feet of modern draught oxen. This led to the definition of a series of draught-related anomalies. In an attempt to describe the pathologies in a more consistent and quantitative way, a scoring scale for each individual bone pathology was established. The developed method is applied to cattle remains from four Roman and one late medieval site. The distribution of the observed pathological indices (PIs) on the first phalanges is interpreted in terms of the age structure of the cattle populations, and the possible modes of cattle exploitation and meat consumption in various settlement types. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.