On the status of greylag geese in Roman Paris: A linear and 2D geometric morphometric approach

Tarek Oueslati, Ben Gruwier

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We investigate here the domestic status of goose remains from archaeological excavations of the Roman urban settlement of Paris Lutecia. Within the diet of the Parisii adult goose competes with chicken in importance, thus offering abundant material for exploring the question of the domesticity of this bird. We first use linear and geometric morphometrics on modern tarsometatarsi of wild and domestic greylag geese to investigate potential morphological differences between the two forms. Afterwards, we apply this model on a Roman sample from Lutecia. The modern domestic breed shows notable differences in length and gracility of the tarsometatarsus compared with the wild specimens. In domestic males, the tarsometatarsi appear significantly longer and more robust compared with females. In wild greylag geese, we do not observe significant differences between males and females. Geometric morphometric analysis shows a modification of the shape in the domestic form, with increased robusticity and a bend of the shaft towards the distal end. Following this analysis, we examine the metrical specificities of the archaeological sample that shows only an increase in robusticity and no modification of length relative to the wild form. Our linear and geometric morphometric models clearly indicate that the majority of the Roman geese are domestic. Nevertheless, a smaller number of wild greylag geese are also present and must be considered as being sourced from hunting activities in the surroundings of Lutecia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-587
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

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