Saturday, August 18, 2018


A Highly Enthusiastic Fish Bone Specialist

H.E.M. Cool, Eating and Drinking in Roman Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 104:
I well recall in the mid-1970s, when working as a finds supervisor for a big urban excavation, the sudden appearance of cod and ling vertebrae on the finds trays amongst all the normal potsherds and mammal bone. This took place the day after everyone working on the site had listened to a lecture by a highly enthusiastic fish bone specialist. As fish bones go, these are large; but they had rarely appeared in the preceding weeks. It was a classic example of the phenomenon that what goes on the finds tray is what the excavator recognises. Not all digging teams can have the opportunity of being similarly enthused and, even if they are, they would still miss the smaller species.

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