Department of Archaeology

Dama International: The Fallow Deer Project

Arts and Humanites Research Council

Funding body:
Arts and Humanities Research Council

Principal Investigator:
Dr Naomi Sykes, Department of Archaeology

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 Of all the world’s deer, none has a closer relationship to people than the European fallow deer, Dama dama dama.

Dama International: Fallow Deer and European Society project

Fallow Deer and European Society
6000 BC - AD 1600


Ever since the Neolithic, humans have selectively transported and maintained this elegant animal, taking it from its restricted native range in the eastern Mediterranean across Europe where it is now an established icon of stately homes.

Wherever fallow deer have been introduced they have altered the physical and psychological landscape and their distribution is a direct record of human migration, trade, behaviour and worldview. Given their impact and significance, fallow deer are genuinely worthy of investigation, with potential to provide cultural data of the highest relevance and significance for a range of disciplines and audiences.

To realise this potential the AHRC is funding a major international project that will employ methods proven by our pilot study – e.g. the integration of archaeology, history, geography and anthropology with genetics, stable isotope analysis and osteological research - to examine the circumstances and cultural significance of this species' diffusion across Europe.

Project outcomes

Dissemination of project outcomes will be via a range of media including journal and magazine  articles and books, a documentary, and an expansion of the existing Deer Bone Database.




Department of Archaeology

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact details