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Abstract

Mobility is crucial in animal husbandry to overcome scarcity of food and the related over-grazing of pastures. It is also essential to reduce the inbreeding rate of animal populations, which is known to have a negative impact on fertility and productivity. Complex societies with a strong territorial component developed during the Iron Age in Southern France and across Europe. The impact of this phenomenon over animal husbandry is not yet fully understood, but a general small size of animals is attested in different parts of Europe at that time. This paper presents the main zooarchaeological results (main domesticates species representation, mortality profiles, osteometry, pathologies) of two major Iron Age sites in Languedoc – La Monédière (Bessan) and Lattara (Lattes). In addition, the strontium isotopic ratios (⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr) of 44 sheep and 16 cattle teeth from these sites are provided together with some baseline isotopic data. La Monédière and Lattara represent good case studies to characterise the geographic range of meat provisioning in coastal urban centres in the mid Iron Age (6th–4th c. BC). Their archaeological record enables us to analyse whether different species may have had different mobility patterns. In addition the strontium ratios of 4 Roman cattle from these sites were analysed for comparative purposes. The results are contextualised with other archaeological and zooarchaeological data from Languedoc and neighbour Catalonia, and suggest that the socio-political context has a major influence on animal production.

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... The results obtained with dental mesowear therefore support the hypothesis of grazing in areas with more shrubland on the coast (Jiménez-Manchón et al., 2019) and in more open areas on the plain (e.g. Colominas et al., 2011;Nieto-Espinet et al., 2020) during the Iron Age. This scenario is compatible with archaeological data pointing towards increased territorialisation (e.g. ...
... Py, 1993;Asensio et al., 2002;Sanmartí & Belarte, 2001) and local Iron Age livestock farming in this geographic context (e.g. Colominas et al., 2017;Nieto-Espinet et al., 2020;Valenzuela-Lamas & Albarella, 2017). ...
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... Similarly, comparison of data from the civitates of the Nervii and the Tungri demonstrated how these adjacent regions evolved somewhat different cattle husbandry strategies during the Roman period (Pigière, 2017; see also Paris, 2018). Other recent regional syntheses have been undertaken in Raetia (Trixl et al. 2017), Pannonia Inferior (Lyublyanovics, 2010), the Iberian Peninsula (Grau-Sologestoa, 2015;Nieto-Espinet et al., 2021;, Gallia Narbonensis (Nieto-Espinet et al., 2020), northern Gaul (Lepetz and Morand, 2017;Jouanin and Yvinec, 2019), and Egypt (Leguilloux, 2018), just to name a few of the many studies that have been published. In Britain, Iron Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon national surveys (Albarella, 2007;King, 2019;Holmes, 2014;Duval and Albarella, 2022) and regional case studies Albarella, 2020;King, 2020;Rizzetto and Albarella, 2022) have been supplemented by the initiative hosted by the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) to make osteological data available online for central England (dataset Albarella and Pirnie, 2008). ...
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... Biometric, isotopic and genetic results have provided evidence for cattle mobility and trade elsewhere in Western Mediterranean during the early Roman period (e.g. Minniti et al. 2014;Colominas and Edwards 2017;Nieto-Espinet et al. 2020), and changes in the circulation of these animals certainly would have occurred in Roman northern Italy. Considering the biometric evidence for pre-Roman livestock improvements, steps in this direction were probably underway during the Iron Age as well. ...
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