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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Research Postgraduates

Publication details for Professor Peter Rowley-Conwy

Albarella, U., Davis, S.J.M., Detry, C. & Rowley-Conwy, P. (2005). Pigs of the ‘Far West’ the biometry of Sus from archaeological sites in Portugal. Anthropozoologica 40(2): 27-54.

Author(s) from Durham


The main purpose of this study is to outline the osteometric variation of Sus
from the Neolithic to the present day in Portugal.We start by focussing upon
two important Chalcolithic sites —Zambujal and Leceia— with their abundant
collections of suid bones and teeth. Although it is difficult to clearly
assign individual specimens as wild or domestic Sus, the general patterns of
distribution of measurements suggest that, at both sites, pig husbandry was
more important than wild boar hunting, with slightly more wild boar being
represented at Zambujal. Moreover, it appears that, in Portugal Chalcolithic,
wild boar was larger than in the Mesolithic. The scarcity of data from
Neolithic sites makes it difficult to determine exactly when the pig was first
domesticated in Portugal. Our Iron Age to Islamic data indicate stability of
pig size in these periods but an abundance of larger forms of Sus in the Islamic
period seems more likely to signal an increase of wild boar hunting rather
than an improvement of the domestic form. Slight shape differences between
wild boar and pig third mandibular molars tend to corroborate this hypothesis.
The Portuguese wild boar was and still is smaller than wild boar from
regions east of the Iberian Peninsula.


Published with the help of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the Centre National du Livre.