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Cattle Bones Unearthed at Neolithic Site in Ireland

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Ireland Cattle BonesDUBLIN, IRELAND—According to a statement released by University College Dublin, zooarchaeologist Fabienne Pigiere and her colleagues uncovered the remains of at least 58 cattle in the ditches of an enclosure at Kilshane, a 5,500-year-old Neolithic site in eastern Ireland. The cattle are thought to have been kept for milk, meat for feasting, and use as draft animals at about the same time Ireland’s passage tombs were under construction. “Unlike contemporary British or continental sites, the Kilshane assemblage is nearly fully composed of cattle remains,” Pigiere said. Most of the animals had been slaughtered when they were about two and one-half years old—an optimum age for meat production, she added. Some animals slaughtered after age three may have been kept for milk production, breeding, or use as draft animals. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. For more on cows in Irish history, go to "Medieval Cattle Raiders."

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