Walking on Eggshells: A Study of Egg Use in Anglo-Scandinavian York Based on Eggshell Identification Using ZooMS

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ABSTRACT

Eggshell is a potentially common archaeological resource, but it tends to be ignored. The recent development of ZooMS (zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry) as a rapid and robust system for taxonomic identification of preserved eggshell fragments has facilitated new insights into patterns of egg use in the past. This paper presents a case study of egg use at two sites in Anglo-Scandinavian York (Hungate and Coppergate). The results described below suggest that the relative prevalence of goose eggshell may become a useful indicator of status, consistent with other characteristics of the two sites, and also demonstrate an apparent lack of exploitation of eggs of wild birds in York during the Anglo-Scandinavian period. These results highlight the interpretative potential of eggshell, which can now begin to be more fully explored. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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