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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Neolithic Cattle May Have Pulled Heavy Loads

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND—According to a report in The Telegraph, Neolithic cattle bones unearthed at 11 archaeological sites in the Balkans show wear and tear consistent with pulling heavy loads. The study, led by Jane Gaastra of University College London, suggests cattle were put to work as early as 6000 B.C., about 2,000 years earlier than previously thought and before the introduction of the plow and the wheel. Researchers think that, in the Balkans, cattle would have helped early farmers clear forests and build settlements. Gaastra says cattle in Britain may even have even helped build Stonehenge some 5,000 years ago, by dragging bluestones around 160 miles from Wales to Wiltshire. To read about the search for the genetic signature of aurochs, the wild ancestor of domesticated cattle, in medieval drinking horns, go to “Raise a Toast to the Aurochs.”

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