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A.j. Parker (1988)

The Birds of Roman Britain

Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 7(2):197-226.

Summary. Wild birds were probably of little importance for food in Roman Britain, but there is some advantage, for ecology, conservation, archaeological reconstruction and education, in establishing a tolerably correct list of species present in Roman times. There are special problems for the recovery and identification of bird bones; on the other hand, historical and other sources are wanting for Roman Britain. There is no evidence for falconry in the Roman period; birds would be caught, for sport by lime-rods, and for food by a variety of methods. There is little definite evidence for religious use of wild birds in Roman Britain. The environment of Britain in the Roman period was, in many respects, quite similar to that of recent times, but the bird species recorded from Roman sites suggest that the landscape was rather varied, and favourable to wildlife. An up-to-date list of 94 wild species can be roughly quantified by the number of sites on which each has been found; both the more numerous species and the absentees offer some surprises, and the effect is to emphasize the Romanization of eating habits in the province.

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