Troia and Fallow Deer

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Abstract

Current archaeological excavations at Troia yield a large amount of archaeofaunal material. Skeletal remains of wild animals are most frequently represented by fallow deer. Common fallow deer and Mesopotamian fallow deer differ in several characteristics like the shape of the antlers and area of natural distribution. Troia VIII archaeofaunal remains contain 23.5% of fallow deer bones (according to numbers of fragments) and the elements represent all the main body parts of the animal. The shape of the antlers proves the presence of common fallow deer, Dama dama, in the Troad. Chronological comparison of measurements of selected skeletal elements indicates that there was no significant difference in body size between Troia VIII and Troia I fallow deer populations. Similarly, comparison of body size between contemporary fallow deer populations from sites in different geographical areas (Kastanas, northern Greece; Demircihüyük, north-central Anatolia; and Troia, northwest Turkey) proves that the body size of the deer was almost identical throughout a large geographical area. A partial reconstruction of the environment in the Troad is done on the basis of fallow deer environmental and food requirements. Finally, an attempt is made to evaluate the position of fallow deer in the life of the ancient inhabitants of Troia and to describe the importance of this animal as derived from ecofacts and artefacts in combination with the archaeological context.