Evidence for processing of flatfish ar Raversijde, a late medieval coastal site in Belgium


en Anthropozoologica 25-26 - Pages 579-586

Published on 01 June 1998

This article is a part of the thematic issue Proceedings of the 7th ICAZ International Meeting, Constance, September 1994

The remains of several houses and related structures of a 15th century coastal village have been found at Raversijde, Belgium. Fauna is extremely well preserved and occurs throughout the site, in and outside the houses, in pits, in ditches, etc. A pit with organic and inorganic refuse contained a fine lens near its top with a high concentration of fish remains. They be long almost exclusive/y to plaice (Pleuronectes platessa), whereas the other faunal assemblages from the site comprise a wide variety of fish species. Thousands of plaice remains, belonging to approximately 130 individuals have been investigated and showed that the skeletons are incomplete. Only head and tail elements, together with stomach contents (shells of Donax vittatus), have been deposited; eut marks behind the head and near the caudal fin occur frequently. The high concentration of these remains and the absence of admixture with other faunal remains or archaeological abjects indicate that the deposit refiects a single event. lt is believed that these fish bones are the remnants of processed plaice. The reconstructed size of the majority of the fish is between 30 and 40 cm total length. lt is not clear whether the fish bodies have been consumed elsewhere at the site or if they have been further processed for future consumption and export inland.


Archaeozoology, fish, processing, medieval

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