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Keywords:

  • pig domestication;
  • Chinese Neolithic;
  • odontochronology;
  • skeletochronology;
  • ageing techniques;
  • seasonality;
  • zooarchaeology

ABSTRACT

In this paper, we report results of the pilot study in which we apply skeletochronological analysis of teeth to a collection of modern Chinese wild boar (Sus scrofa) of known age and date of death. This is the first time that odontochronology has been applied to suids in China. This work allowed us to establish parameters for subsequent analysis of a limited number of Neolithic-aged Sus (wild boar and possible early domesticated pig) samples from Henan Province. The goal of the research is to contribute to the ongoing reconstruction of Neolithic dietary, health and economic patterns along the Yellow River. Our results are encouraging in that regular seasonal growth patterning is observed in the northern control sample, which is from the same region as our archaeological investigation. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.