Accepted Paper:

Whatever happened to Exeter?  


Lee Broderick (Bournemouth University)

Paper short abstract:

It has been 35 years since Exeter was thrust into the limelight as a case-study for the developing field of urban zooarchaeology. Since that time synthesised works have slowly appeared for a very few other cities, in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, whilst work in Exeter would appear to have languished. This paper presents an update on a new phase in the development of the urban zooarchaeology of Exeter.

Paper long abstract:

The potential for zooarchaeology to elucidate a variety of questions in historical archaeology and biogeography through material recovered from urban deposits was first demonstrated in Exeter. Since that time, around 35 years ago, Maltby's Exeter synthesis continues to be a defining text for the sub-discipline and its themes have been developed elsewhere, most notably in York and in Vác (Hungary), and most recently in Winchester. Excavations have continued in Exeter since the publication of that volume, resulting in a large animal bone assemblage which is now being analysed in order to further nuance our understanding of the field.

Exeter is ideally suited for this kind of study, since it not only has a large faunal assemblage to draw upon, but also has a well-researched economic history and was, for a long time, one of the largest cities in England. The assemblage is also of significance to the wider region, which suffers from a dearth of archaeological faunal remains, due to the widespread occurrence of acid soils.

This presentation aims to bring new work on the zooarchaeology of Exeter, which builds upon the earlier work and compares and contrasts with urban zooarchaeological work elsewhere, to the attention of the archaeological community. Furthermore it highlights Exeter's potential for understanding the economy of a developing city, from the Roman period through to the Early Modern, alongside illuminating our knowledge of the economy and ecology of the South West region.

Panel S02
Palaeoeconomy and palaeoecology of south west Britain