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A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Rabbit Bone Dated to First Century A.D. Found in England

Thursday, April 18, 2019

England Roman rabbitWEST SUSSEX, ENGLAND—The Guardian reports that zooarchaeologist Fay Worley of Historic England spotted a small fragment of a rabbit’s tibia bone in a box of artifacts that were unearthed in 1964 at Fishbourne Palace in southeast England. This was the site of a Roman villa whose wealthy inhabitants are known to have kept a varied menagerie. Worley said the bone, dated to the first century A.D., bears no butchery marks and appears to have been part of the earliest known rabbit in England. Further analysis suggests the rabbit was kept in confinement, she added, and may have been an exotic pet. Rabbits are native to Spain and Portugal, and it had been previously thought they were first introduced to Britain in the eleventh century by the Normans. To read about another recent discovery dating to the Roman period in England, go to Foreign Funeral Rites.”

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