The fish bones from Orford (site ORF 032), Suffolk


REPORT BY:

Dr. Mark Beech, 
Honorary Visiting Fellow, 
Department of Archaeology, 
University of York, 
The King's Manor, 
York YO1 7EP. 
Email: mjb117@york.ac.uk

Charlie Stokes, 
45 Wadham Road, 
North End,
Portsmouth,
Hants  PO2 9ED
Email: garage_flower@lycos.com

REPORT COMMISSIONED BY: 

Alexis Willett,
Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service, 
Shire Hall, 
Bury St Edmunds, 
Suffolk IP33 2AR
Email:  archaeology@et.suffolkcc.gov.uk 
Web: http://www.suffolkcc.gov.uk/e-and-t/archaeology/index.html

ABSTRACT

Over 600 fish bones were recovered by hand picking during the excavation of Medieval occupation layers at site ORF 032, Orford, Suffolk. Out of these a total of 197 were identifiable to family, genus or species. The assemblage was dominated by marine fish, particularly cod, with smaller quantities of related species like pollack, saithe, haddock and ling. Other taxa represented included thornback ray, shark/ray/skate/chimaera, conger eel, gurnard, flounder, and plaice. One bone fragment was identified from the migratory species, European seabass, and another from the freshwater species, burbot. This latter specimen came from a Late Medieval context. The majority of the bones however originated from 12-14th century layers. There were too few bones in the later deposits to determine if the composition of species was consistent through time. Almost all the gadid remains came from large fish. The absence of smaller fish like herring and eels may simply be a reflection of the retrieval method utilised on the excavation, smaller bones not being recovered because of the lack of sieving. A comparison with other published early Medieval fish bone assemblages in East Anglia revealed a broadly similar pattern with a pronounced emphasis on the exploitation of marine fish during this period.
 

If you would like a complete version of this report please contact the Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service.
 


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