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Some remarks on the provision of animal products to urban centres in medieval Islamic Iberia: The cases of Madinat Ilbirah (Granada) and Cercadilla (Cordova)

García-García, Marcos
Quaternary international 2017 v.460 pp. 86-96
animal products, bones, chickens, eating habits, food consumption, goats, rabbits, research projects, sheep, socioeconomics, urban areas, Iberian Peninsula
This paper deals with the first results of an on-going research project that attempts to elucidate, amongst other aspects, how medieval Islamic urban centres in Southern Iberia obtained animal products. The analysis is focused here on the examination of the taxonomic distribution in a set of archaeofaunal assemblages dated between the 8th and the 12th centuries and recovered from two different sites: the town of Madinat Ilbirah (Atarfe, Granada) and the quarter of Cercadilla (Cordova). The results reveal major differences in the most consumed species in these two urban sites. Caprines (sheep/goats) account for the majority of the identified animal bones at Ilbirah, although chicken and rabbit remains are also present in high proportions. The results from Cercadilla reveal a substantial variation over time in the frequency of the primary mammal species, possibly reflecting meaningful trends in the animal economy of this Cordova quarter. Furthermore, the analysis of food consumption patterns sheds some light on the changing eating habits and food practices of urban consumers during the period following the Islamic conquest of Iberia in 711 AD, which allows us to study the socio-economic, cultural and religious transformations deriving from the process of ‘Islamisation’ from a relatively unexplored perspective.