The Fallow Deer Project
Of all the world's deer none has a closer relationship to people than the European Fallow Deer (Dama dama dama). Ever since the Neolithic, humans have selectively transported and maintained this elegant animal, taking it from its restricted native range in the eastern Mediterranean across Europe where it is now an established icon of stately homes.
Wherever fallow deer have been introduced they have altered the physical and psychological landscape and their distribution is a direct record of human migration, trade, behaviour and worldview. Given their impact and significance, fallow deer are genuinely worthy of investigation, with potential to provide cultural data of the highest relevance and significance for a range of disciplines and audiences.
To realise this potential the AHRC is funding a major international project that will employ methods proven by our pilot study – e.g. the integration of archaeology, history, geography and anthropology with genetics, stable isotope analysis and osteological research - to examine the circumstances and cultural significance of this species' diffusion across Europe.
Collections of fallow deer bones (ancient and modern) will be the focus of the team's scientific investigations.