Disentangling taphonomic histories at Old Uppsala, a Late Iron Age central place in Sweden, using Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA)

Stella Macheridis, Ola Magnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) has been applied to animal bones from the Late Iron Age (650–1050 CE) at the site of Old Uppsala, Sweden, to explore meat consumption and waste management at the site and to evaluate the inferential value of MCA, as indicated by earlier research using this technique. MCA describes variation within the data, which provides a platform from which to contextualize taphonomic traces at Old Uppsala. The data comprises bones from the many pit houses at Old Uppsala, categorized by taxon, anatomical parts and presence of taphonomic markers from burning, butchery, gnawing, trampling and weathering. The results show a clear variation in the distribution of animal bones between the pit houses. For example, differences in fragmentation degrees and in signs of bone exposure indicate different accumulation rates between the assemblages. The results also suggest that cultural practices affected the distribution of animal bones, especially in terms of spatial and social differences in animal consumption. The frequencies of bones from the axial skeleton, from pig, and possibly also from horse, differed within the settlement. We suggest that the uneven patterns of especially pig and horse bones were shaped by context specific meat consumption, influenced by the animal symbolism of the Old Norse societies, where these animals had strong, albeit different, symbolic connotations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102536
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
Volume33
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sep 18

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Archaeology

Keywords

  • Old Uppsala
  • Contextual taphonomy
  • Multiple Correspondence Analysis
  • Iron Age Scandinavia
  • zooarchaeology

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