Meat and marrow utility indices for horse (Equus)

  • Outram A
  • Rowley-Conwy P
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Three horses were butchered and their economic anatomy examined. A Meat Utility Index (MUI) and a Marrow Index (MI) were derived, and these were modified to produce a Food Utility Index (FUI) using the methodology of Binford (1978) and Metcalfe & Jones (1988). The indices were compared with those for caribou, and the economic anatomy of the two species shown to be quite dissimilar. In horse there is a much greater concentration of meat on the cervical vertebrae, the thorax and the pelvis, while the limbs below the humerus and femur are of very little value. Although large, horses have relatively little marrow, due to more trabecular bone and thicker bone walls reducing cavity volume; marrow utility in the different elements varied between the three horses, but femur always yielded most. These results will be of use to those studying skeletal element frequency at European palaeolithic and other archaeological sites. © 1998 Academic Press.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Economic Anatomy
  • Food Utility Index
  • Horse
  • Marrow Index
  • Meat Index

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  • Alan Outram

  • Peter Rowley-Conwy

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