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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Cow Skull

August 9, 2018

Cow skullThis cow skull was recovered during the 2006 excavation of an early 1840s–1860s privy in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Domestic animal bones in the privy represent swine, cattle, sheep, dog, house cat, chicken, and indeterminate mammals and birds.  Swine are predominant.  Cattle bones also were common. 

A range of meat cuts are represented. Swine bones associated with hock, pigs’ feet, and souse are most common; ham, ribs, and loin/leg portions, which are moderate- to high-value cuts, are also represented. Beef cuts indicate both high- and low-value portions including ribs, sirloin, round steak, chuck, and front/hindshank. A number of the beef and pork bones have cut marks from a finely toothed saw, suggesting that they were purchased meats with professionally butchered cuts.