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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Research Postgraduates

Publication details for Professor Peter Rowley-Conwy

Copley, M.S., Jim, S., Jones, V., Rose, P., Clapham, A., Edwards, D.N., Horton, M., Rowley-Conwy, P. & Evershed, R.P. (2004). Short- and long-term foraging and foddering strategies of domesticated animals from Qasr Ibrim, Egypt. Journal of Archaeological Science 31(9): 1273-1286.

Author(s) from Durham


Various biomolecular components preserved in domesticated animal bones recovered from the Nubian site of Qasr Ibrim are used for dietary reconstruction of their foddering and foraging behaviours. Utilising models of the biochemical correlations with the dietary components and their turnover rates, the bulk stable isotope values of bone collagen and apatite combined with compound-specific stable isotope values of the collagenous amino acids (essential and non-essential) provided long-term indicators of the diet of cattle and sheep/goats from the site. Cattle appear to have predominantly consumed C4 plants, such as sorghum (Sorghum bicolor bicolor Moench.) and millet (Panicum miliaceum L.), during the later periods at the site, suggesting that cattle were subjected to differing feeding strategies over the period of occupation of the site. Furthermore, the δ13C values of the individual fatty acids (n-hexadecanoic and -octadecanoic acids) preserved in the bones provide short-term indicators of the animals' diet. The application of a new model based on δ13C values of the bone apatite and fatty acids indicates differences in the long- and short-term diets of sheep/goat, which are less obvious in cattle.