Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Learning from leftovers: A history drawn from turkey bones

Date:
December 24, 2010
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Brooklynne Fothergill will have a very different view of Christmas dinner from most people, because the doctoral student is researching the history of turkey domestication by examining old turkey bones.

Brooklynne Fothergill will have a very different view of Christmas dinner from most people, because the University of Leicester PhD student is researching the history of turkey domestication by examining old turkey bones.

Fothergill's PhD is in palaeopathology, the study of disease in ancient remains. By studying the health of turkeys from different countries and different historical periods, she is able to draw conclusions about the people who farmed, cooked and ate them.

"As unimportant as animal bones may seem compared to beautiful ceramics or metal, they have the potential to reveal aspects of human life in the past that no other form of material can show us," says Fothergill, a Canadian-Irish student who has come to Leicester to study in the University's School of Archaeology and Ancient History.

"Animal bones can be useful indicators of human diet. The presence of animals from far away tells us about long-distance trade. We can look into farming methods as well as attempting to work out how they were perceived by people in the past and what they may have symbolized."

Turkeys originated in north and central America where they were domesticated by the Aztecs. Spanish explorers brought the birds to Europe in the 1500s and English colonists took them back in the 1600s. Domesticated turkeys were crossbred with wild American turkeys to create the various breeds in use today.

To the early American people, turkeys were enormously important says Fothergill:

"Turkey feathers were used for prayer sticks, blankets and clothing. They were associated with water and may have been used for sacrifices. There are even records of turkeys within human burials. There is a legend about the turkey having the feathers burned off of its head when it attempted to raise the sun. I also very much enjoy that an aspect of Tezcatlipoca, one of the main Aztec gods, was Chalchiuhtotolin, who appeared as a turkey."

Fothergill's project was featured in the University's Festival of Postgraduate Research earlier this year. For more about turkeys and Fothergill's research, see: http://www.le.ac.uk/turkeys


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Learning from leftovers: A history drawn from turkey bones." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101222071825.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2010, December 24). Learning from leftovers: A history drawn from turkey bones. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101222071825.htm
University of Leicester. "Learning from leftovers: A history drawn from turkey bones." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101222071825.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins