Genetic archaeology of Celtic and Roman cattle north of the alps
Project funded by own resources
Project title Genetic archaeology of Celtic and Roman cattle north of the alps
Principal Investigator(s) Schlumbaum, Angela
Schibler, Jörg
Organisation / Research unit Departement Umweltwissenschaften / Archäozoologie (Schibler)
Project start 16.01.2003
Probable end 31.12.2019
Status Completed

This project aims at a detailed genetic characterisation of cattle (Bos primigenius f. taurus, Bos taurus) populations during Celtic and Roman time using mitochondrial (mtDNA) and nuclear markers (nDNA). Genetic data will be compared to the archaeological knowledge, to results of morphological bone investigations and to isotope analysis. 

With the establishment of Roman provinces north of the Alps large social and economical changes occurred. The extent of this cultural impact on domestic animals in Switzerland was demonstrated by an increase in cattle size from late Iron Age onwards and a decrease after Roman occupation in Early Medieval time, a fact observed in other parts of Europe as well. Other potential changes are morphologically invisible. Phenotypic changes can point to shifts in husbandry techniques, to diversification in genetic stock such as through import of cattle, or to both. Based on the bone assemblages excavated at major Swiss archaeological sites, however, the distinction between the causes with morphometrical methods is not possible. We do not know which traits beside size might have been selected for. Morphology also fails in many cases to sex the bones, which would provide information on herd structures and the use of cattle. One alternative is to employ techniques of molecular genetics e.g. ancient DNA (aDNA) analyses and meaningful genetic markers to study cattle history or features.

Financed by University funds
Other funds

Published results ()

  ID Autor(en) Titel ISSN / ISBN Erschienen in Art der Publikation
99179  Schlumbaum, A.; Turgay, M.; Schibler, J.  Near East mtDNA haplotype variants in Roman cattle from Augusta Raurica, Switzerland, and the Swiss Evolène breed  0268-9146 ; 1365-2052  Animal Genetics  Publication: JournalArticle (Originalarbeit in einer wissenschaftlichen Zeitschrift) 
49483  Schibler, J.; Schlumbaum, A.  History and economic importance of cattle (Bos taurus L.) in Switzerland from neolithic to early middle ages  0036-7281  SAT  Publication: JournalArticle (Originalarbeit in einer wissenschaftlichen Zeitschrift) 
99188  Schlumbaum, A.; Stopp, B.; Breuer, G.; Rehazek, A.; Turgay, M.; Blatter, R.; Schibler, J.  Combining archaeozoology and molecular genetics: the reason behind the changes in cattle size between 150BC and 700AD in Switzerland    Antiquity  Publication: JournalArticle (Originalarbeit in einer wissenschaftlichen Zeitschrift) 

Cooperations ()

  ID Kreditinhaber Kooperationspartner Institution Laufzeit - von Laufzeit - bis
102585  Schlumbaum, Angela  Archaeological Services of the Cantons  Archaeological Services of the Cantons  01.08.2008  31.07.2011 

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