The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

 ISSN 0268-0130

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pdf 05. An archaeological study of frogs and toads from the eighth to sixteenth century at Repton, Derbyshire


Open Access


Authors: C. J. Ranworthy, B. Kiøi Byf-biddle And M. Biddle

Abstract: During excavation work a round the Church of St. Wystans at Repton. Derbyshire. a large quantity of Common frog ( Rana temporaria) and Common toad ( Bufo bufo) bones were discovered at several sites. The robbing holes, suspected saw-pit, crypt, drain and burial mounds all appeared to have acted as historical pitfall traps ( between the eighth and sixteenth centurv ) . which in some cases caught frogs and toads in large numbers . In the eighth and ninth century the Common frog was abundant compared to the Common toad which is rare or even absent from Repton . However. by the fourteenth century. toads had become Well established. and in modern times. extremely abundant in the area. This change may be associated with the formation of an ox-bow lake between the ninth and sixteenth centurv.
A very high proportion of frog bones were recorded among the disarticulate human bones of the ninth century Viking burial mound. This mound is known to have been disturbed in the seventeenth century . However the almost complete absence of toad bones suggests that t here has been little contamination to these deposits during and after the fourteenth century. since t he Common toad appears to have been common in Repton from this time onwards.

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Please note that as from Volume 31 Number 1 (January 2021) on, the Herpetological Journal will be available as an online publication only - the last print edition will be Volume 30 Number 4.   

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