Tuesday, July 24, 2012

'Handbag' dog uncovered at Silchester dig

Toy dogs were just as popular in the Iron Age as they are today, according to some of the latest finds by archaeologists from The University of Reading.
Experts at the Silchester Roman Town archaeological site have discovered the skeleton of a dog similar to that of a poodle, pictured here. It shows the animal was placed in a relaxed posture suggesting it was given a formal burial and indicating a close bond between pet and owner.

"Very small dogs of this period are very rare finds," said Professor Michael Fulford, from the Department of Archaeology.

"Only half a dozen or so examples of this period have been recorded across Britain and it may have been bred on the Continent and imported to Britain – another luxury like the olive."

They have also found the first evidence that Iron Age people in Britain were spicing up mealtimes with Mediterranean foods and seasoning. It was previously believed that before the Roman conquest of Britain only liquids such as olive oil and wine were imported from across the Channel. However, archaeologists have discovered people of that time were importing various other ingredients from the Continent including whole olives themselves. Last year an olive stone, along with seeds of celery, dill and coriander, were discovered in a Late Iron Age well dating to AD50 and beyond.

Prof Fulford said: "These plant foods were all cultivated in the Mediterranean region and literary evidence shows they were part of Roman cuisine. Topics such as global food trade, food security and self-sufficiency may seem like issues only for the present day, but this unique discovery shows just how sophisticated Britain's trade in food and global links were, even before the Romans colonised in the First Century AD."

Via http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/education/s/2117593_handbag_dog_uncovered_at_silchester_dig