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12.08.2021

Cat bones

Medieval, 13th-15th century.

Found during excavations by the archaeological section of the Winchester Museum Service on Victoria Road, Winchester, in the mid to late 1970s.

A large number of cat bones like these were found in some of the medieval pits on the Victoria Road site. Experts on the animal remains could tell from the degree of development of the bones what age the cats were when they died, mostly between six and eleven months old, and suggested that cats foraging in the medieval northern suburbs were often captured and killed for their hides and fur.

At this age, the cat was more or less mature, its fur in good condition, but it was not wary of humans and was not cunning enough to avoid capture as an older animal might have done. The lack of proper cutting marks on the bones, as opposed to cuts on the head when the pelt was removed, suggests that the poor pussy was not a tasty meal afterwards.

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