How to feed an invading army thousands of miles from home

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In a examine published in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Dr Peter Guest and Dr Richard Madgwick of a University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion, used biochemical techniques of animal stays to exhibit a start of stock granted to a legionary outpost during Caerleon.

Prior to a study, heading theories argued that locally constructed rural resources contingency have been critical in feeding and progressing a estimable occupying army, yet this thought was formed on really singular evidence.

Using strontium isotope investigate to analyse a skeleton of domestic animals from a fortress, a researchers identified a brew of sources. Significantly, a different settlement of formula does not advise a centralised supply sequence from nearby or distant – formula that plea existent theories.

While a infancy of stock are unchanging with origins in a internal area, investigate found that during slightest one entertain of a pigs, cattle and caprines (sheep/goats) originated outward southeast Wales, some from southern or eastern England while others could have come from as distant divided as southern Scotland or northern France.

Senior Lecturer in Roman Archaeology Dr Peter Guest, who led a latest discoveries during Caerleon – Britain’s usually composed Roman legionary fortress, said: “Provisioning vast concentrations of veteran soldiers in Britain after a advance in AD 43 was a vital plea for a Roman Empire. For a initial time we can see that a invaders were sourcing stock both locally and from substantial distances. How these supply networks operated stays unclear, though this examine has critical implications not usually for bargain how a Roman army was postulated in Britannia though also a impact that provisioning a army had on a countryside, quite around troops sites.”

Osteoarchaeologist Dr Richard Madgwick added: “As a initial examine to use biochemical information to examine a supply of animals to a Roman army in a provinces, it is hoped that these formula will inspire serve isotope studies of cultivation practices and stock supply in Roman Britain. The investigate adds critical information to a really singular corpus for domestic animals in Roman Britain, providing poignant new information on a production, supply and expenditure of cattle, sheep/goat and pigs during a pivotal troops base.”

Source: Cardiff University

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