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Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Prof Peter Rowley-Conwy

Gron, K. & Rowley-Conwy, P. (2017). Herbivore Diets and the Anthropogenic Environment of Early Farming in Southern Scandinavia. The Holocene 27(1): 98-109.

Author(s) from Durham


Farming practice in the first period of the southern Scandinavian Neolithic (Early Neolithic I, Funnel Beaker Culture, 3950–3500 cal. BC) is not well understood. Despite the presence of the first farmers and their domesticated plants and animals, little evidence of profound changes to the landscape such as widespread deforestation has emerged from this crucial early period. Bone collagen dietary stable isotope ratios of wild herbivores from southern Scandinavia are here analysed in order to determine the expected range of dietary variation across the landscape. Coupled with previously published isotope data, differences in dietary variation between wild and domestic species indicate strong human influence on the choice and creation of feeding environments for cattle. In context with palynological and zooarchaeological data, we demonstrate that a human-built agricultural environment was present from the outset of farming in the region, and such a pattern is consistent with the process by which expansion agriculture moves into previously unfarmed regions.