Sheep O'Hoy: The zooarchaeology of sails production in Late Iron Age southern Scandinavia

Project: Research

Project Details


The Late Iron Age in southern Scandinavia was a dynamic and transformative period. The introduction of the sail on ships drastically changed the conditions of sea-fare based communication and long distance travels. Simultaneously, the degree of centralisation increased and larger central places as well as market places became more common. These socio-political changes came hand in hand with economic and technological changes. The introduction of the sail and a general increase of textile production must have impacted the need for raw material, especially wool, considering the traditional view that the sails were woolen. This study deals with this transformation in terms of mapping and investigating the organisation of the wool production system from a zooarchaeological perspective. The study has three main aims: i) to map and analyze of animal husbandry during the Iron Age with specific note to sheep management and wool production from a zooarchaeological perspective, ii) to contextualize sheep husbandry on local levels, targeting key sites for example where sails production has been identified, and iii) to test innovations in morphometrical and osteological methods for the separation of sheep and goat bones using ZooMS. The study is limited to Scania, with specific regard to the Löddeköpinge area.

Short titleSheep O'Hoy
Effective start/end date2019/02/012025/02/28


  • Stiftelsen Marcus och Amalia Wallenbergs Minnesfond
  • Berit Wallenbergs Stiftelse

UKÄ subject classification

  • Archaeology

Free keywords

  • Zooarchaeology
  • Economy
  • Late Iron Age
  • Iron Age Scandinavia
  • Animal husbandry
  • Wool production
  • Sail cloth production