A total of 453 bones (294 of galliform and 159 of gruiform birds) from 28 archaeological sites are considered here, 34 per cent of the total ornithoarchaeological wild bird finds collected in Bulgaria so far. They cover a period from the Early Neolithic to the Middle Ages. Eleven species (six galliform and Rye gruiform), 87.5 and 45.5 per cent, respectively, of the Holocene avifauna of both orders, have been identified. One species, Tetrao tetrix, has totally disappeared and three others, Grus grus, Otis tarda and O. tetrax, now breed beyond the borders of Bulgaria and the Balkans. Same of the sites of the large gamefowl species indicate their wider distribution in the past. Phasianus colchicus is present as early as the Eneolithic period. The wild galliform and gruiform species were important as a source of meal for the local population up to the Middle Ages, in spite of widespread breeding ct domestic poultry. (C) 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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