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Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Dr Janet Montgomery

Gron, Kurt, Montgomery, Janet, Otto Nielsen, Poul, Nowell, Geoff, Peterkin, Joanne L., Sørensen, Lasse & Rowley-Conwy, Peter (2016). Strontium isotope evidence of early Funnel Beaker Culture movement of cattle. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 6: 248-251.

Author(s) from Durham


The movement of livestock across and within landscapes is increasingly being recognized as common in northern European prehistoric contexts, and was performed for various purposes. However, almost nothing is known about the movement of livestock in the earliest phase of the southern Scandinavian Neolithic Funnel Beaker Culture (ENI, TRB, 4000–3500 cal BC), or even if such movement is indicated. In this study, domestic cattle (Bos taurus) teeth from the early Neolithic sites Almhov, Sweden (N = 6) and Havnelev, Denmark (N = 7) were analyzed in order to determine the presence and character of potential livestock movement in this period. Tooth enamel strontium isotope analyses indicated a range of variation in local origin of the animals: some probably local and some non-local. Importantly, both sites yielded an individual exhibiting strontium isotope ratios indicating movement from elsewhere and over a body of water via boat. Although based on a small number of cattle, the movement of livestock is indicated in the earliest Neolithic in the region and provides evidence of social, economic, or other connections over substantial distances.