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Sex in the city: Uncovering sex-specific management of equine resources from prehistoric times to the Modern Period in France

Benoît Clavel 1 Sébastien Lepetz 1 Lorelei Chauvey 2 Stéphanie Schiavinato 2 Laure Tonasso-Calvière 2 Xuexue Liu 2 Antoine Fages 2 Naveed Khan 2 Andaine Seguin-Orlando 2 Clio Der Sarkissian 2 Pierre Clavel 2 Oscar Estrada 2 Duha Alioğlu 2 Charleen Gaunitz 2 Jean-Marc Aury 3 Maude Barme 4 Pierre Bodu 5 Monique Olive 5 Olivier Bignon-Lau 6 Jean-Christophe Castel 7 Myriam Boudadi-Maligne 8 Nicolas Boulbes 9 Alice Bourgois 4 Franck Decanter 10 Sylvain Foucras 11 Stéphane Frère 1, 10 Armelle Gardeisen 12 Gaëtan Jouanin 4, 1 Charlotte Méla 13 Nicolas Morand Ariadna Nieto Espinet 14 Aude Perdereau 15 Olivier Putelat 16 Julie Rivière 1 Opale Robin 10 Marilyne Salin Silvia Valenzuela-Lamas 14 Christian Vallet Jean-Hervé Yvinec 1, 10 Patrick Wincker 15 Ludovic Orlando 2 
Abstract : Sex identification from fragmentary archeozoological assemblages is particularly challenging in the Equid family, including for horses, donkeys and their hybrids. This limitation has precluded in-depth investigations of sex-ratio variation in various temporal, geographic and social contexts. Recently, shallow DNA sequencing has offered an economical solution to equine sex determination, even in environments where DNA preservation conditions is not optimal. In this study, we applied state-of-the-art methods in ancient DNA-based equine sex determination to 897 osseous remains in order to assess whether equal proportions of males and females could be found in a range of archeological contexts in France. We found Magdalenian horse hunt not focused on isolated bachelors, and Upper Paleolithic habitats and natural traps equally balancing sex ratios. In contrast, Iron Age sacrificial rituals appeared to have been preferentially oriented to male horses and this practice extended into the Roman Period. During Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Modern Period, cities emerged as environments largely dominated by horse males. This strong sex-bias was considerably reduced, and sometimes even absent, in various rural contexts. Combined with previous archaeozoological work and textual evidence, our results portray an urban economy fueled by adult, often old, males, and rural environments where females and subadults of both sexes were maintained to sustain production demands.
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Submitted on : Friday, November 18, 2022 - 3:43:01 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 23, 2022 - 11:08:49 AM


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Benoît Clavel, Sébastien Lepetz, Lorelei Chauvey, Stéphanie Schiavinato, Laure Tonasso-Calvière, et al.. Sex in the city: Uncovering sex-specific management of equine resources from prehistoric times to the Modern Period in France. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 2022, 41, pp.103341. ⟨10.1016/j.jasrep.2022.103341⟩. ⟨halshs-03755076⟩



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