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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Research Postgraduates

Publication details for Professor Peter Rowley-Conwy

Rowley-Conwy, P. & Zeder, M. (2014). Mesolithic domestic pigs at Rosenhof – or wild boar? A critical re-appraisal of ancient DNA and geometric morphometrics. World Archaeology 46(5): 813-824.

Author(s) from Durham


We challenge the claim by Krause-Kyora et al. (2013) that there were domestic pigs at Mesolithic sites in northern Germany. A small number of animals from Rosenhof and Poel have ancient DNA and geometric morphometric signatures elsewhere associated with domestic animals. At this time Neolithic farming settlements were present 150km to the south, but the Mesolithic specimens are, however, metrically wild boar, much larger than domestic pigs, and cannot be domestic individuals acquired from the farmers. A more likely explanation for these ‘domestic’ traits is that animals that escaped from farmers’ pig herds interbred with local wild boar. Their descendants were morphologically and behaviourally wild, and were shot by Mesolithic foragers in the course of normal hunts. Their presence at Mesolithic sites is not a precursor to agriculture.