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Séan Doherty,               University of Nottingham


New perspective on cock fighting in Roman Britian


Analysis of faunal assemblages across a number of Roman towns illustrates that cockerels are often found in exceptionally high numbers; frequencies often interpreted as the slaughter of unwanted cockerels in urban centres. This study collates evidence from published literature, unpublished studies and experimental analysis on the development of the spur, to suggest that many of these ‘unwanted’ individuals were in excess of two years old. This study re-examines various urban assemblages and reiterates previous interpretations that these cockerels indicate the presence of urban cockfighting, while employing metric analysis to suggest the introduction of new breeds.


Anthropological studies are examined to reveal the bond that is forged between the human and animal in both the preparation and during the fight, and theorise on the social consequences of the introduction of a cockfighting culture in Roman Britain.



Download a copy of Sean's dissertation (awarded 90%) here Doherty UoN Dissertation 2013 UG.pdf



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