Changing cultures, changing environments: A novel means of investigating the effects of introducing non-native species into past ecosystems
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Journal: Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Descended from junglefowl of Asia and South-east Asia, the chicken was introduced into Europe during the first millennium BCE. As one of the most recently domesticated species, it makes an excellent case study for investigating the consequences of such introductions to past ecological communities. We present a unique application of a novel ecological method to explore multiple past interspecies relationships. Analysing the faunal record using a Bayesian belief network, which allows for the analysis of multiple interspecies relationships simultaneously, indicates that the chicken has more affinity with other domestic birds rather than domestic mammals in terms of species interactions. We find that the introduction of the chicken affected fox, partridge, pigeon and rat, but the success of the chicken was most affected by responses to abiotic variables, rather than biotic interactions. As the method is not limited to environmental variables, we also examined the effect of recovery method and demonstrate that sieving would enhance the frequency of small animal remains recovered from archaeological sites.