Care in the community? Interpretations of a fractured goat bone from Neolithic Jarmo, Iraq

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Abstract A case study of a goat metatarsal exhibiting a complex diaphyseal fracture from Pottery Neolithic Jarmo in the Central Zagros region of the eastern Fertile Crescent is here described and analysed. The Central Zagros is one of the areas with the earliest evidence for goat domestication. The significance of the pathology may be viewed within the context of domestic goat ecology in the landscape of Jarmo, potentially impacting browsing behaviour (goats raise themselves on their hind limbs to browse) and movement with the herd in the landscape (the terrain around Jarmo is very steep in places, which would be difficult for an animal to navigate on three legs). In the light of this, possible levels of care that the Neolithic human community may have afforded this animal are discussed – from a situation where therapeutic intervention may have occurred, to one of stall confinement of the animal to allow the pathology to heal, to a position of simple awareness of the condition – and how this impacts on our understanding of changes in attitudes towards animals through the process of domestication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-37
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Paleopathology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Animal paleopathology
  • Goat domestication
  • Human–animal relationships
  • Jarmo
  • Neolithic
  • Near East


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