Conquering Romans relied on resources from near and far to sustain their forces against the native tribes in Wales, according to new research by Cardiff University archaeologists.
In a study published in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Dr Peter Guest and Dr Richard Madgwick of the University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion, used biochemical techniques of animal remains to reveal the origin of livestock supplied to the legionary fortress at Caerleon.
Prior to the study, leading theories argued that locally produced agricultural resources must have been vital in feeding and maintaining the substantial occupying army, though this idea was based on very limited evidence.
Using strontium isotope analysis to analyse the bones of domestic animals from the fortress, the researchers identified a mix of sources. Significantly, the diverse pattern of results does not suggest a centralised supply chain from near or far – results that challenge existing theories.
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