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Type: Phalanges of bovine (Bos taurus), unburnt bone.

Use: Cattle (faunal residue).

Site: Raisio, Ihala, Mulli abode.

Period: Viking Age / Crusade Age / Early Middle Ages.

Dating: 980-1220 A.D.

Photographer: Antti Huittinen.


The oldest ostheological proof of cattle-breeding in Finland go back to the late Bronze Age, i.e., to the years 1000-500 B.C. The bone finds in Mulli abode show that besides farming, hunting and fishing, also cattle-breeding played an important role as a source of livelihood. In the settlement site, bovine, sheep, goats, swine and chicken were raised. The cows gave milk in summer when they calved. In winter the nourishment of the livestock was scanty and therefore the cows were dry, i.e., they didn't provide milk. The milk does not keep very long without preparation. Therefore the milk was usually soured or churned to butter or cheese was made of it.

In the old ages, the beef cattle was slaughtered usually once a year, in autumn. Slaughtering was men's job and the tools for that were the ax and the sheath-knife. Everything possible was used of the bovine: meat, entrails, fat, blood, also leather and horns. Of leather, hides were curried which served as material for clothes and possibly were used in bartering. The meat was preserved either by leavening, drying or smoking. Salting may have been rare because the salt was an imported good. Fresh roasted or boiled meat was served only immediately after the slaughtering in autumn or on some special occasion.



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Coordinates: x=95-96, y=505, unit 3181.


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