A Winchester furrier in the context of the Medieval European fur trade

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


There was a substantial trade in furs throughout the medieval period, as indicated by a number of written sources. The archaeological evidence for this trade is, however, scant. The discovery of furriers’ workshops depends to a significant extent on the large-scale sieving of soil samples, since most bones from fur-bearing species are small. As large-scale sieving for small bones is not often undertaken in commercial archaeology, the identification of furriers’ workshops is often accidental.

In 2002-2007, excavations in Winchester, England, uncovered a series of tenements dating from the 9th to the late 14th centuries. In the backyard of one tenement, a pit was found which contained 328 foot bones from squirrel, ferret, stoat and fox, as well as 451 bones from other fur or fleece-bearing animals such as cat and lamb. The distribution of skeletal elements suggests that cats and lambs were skinned at the property, whereas the other species were brought there as skins with the feet attached. Other medieval European sites with fur animal bone deposits show a similar correlation with species and local vs. long-distance trade.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventEuropean Association of Archaeologists annual meeting, 2012 - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 2012 Aug 292012 Sept 1
Conference number: 18


ConferenceEuropean Association of Archaeologists annual meeting, 2012
Abbreviated titleEAA2012

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Archaeology


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