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Reindeer remains

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Geology Collection

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Reindeer remains

The remains of a reindeer (rangifer tarandus) discovered in Mount Florida, consisting of an antler and the leg bones (radius and ulna). The antler seems to have been chewed by an animal, perhaps a wolf.

These specimens were found while installing Glasgow Main Drainage Sewer No 6 in Florida Square in the 1930s. They were buried in sand under boulder clay and this stratigraphy suggests that they date from one of the interglacial periods which occurred during the last Ice Age. During inter-glacials the weather got warmer and the ice retreated, allowing animals such as reindeer to live in Scotland.

Reindeer survived in Scotland until after the end of the Ice Age, dying out around 8000 years ago. Evidence pointing to their survival to the 12th century has been disproved. A reference to the hunting of reindeer in Caithness mentioned in the Orkneyinga Saga may refer to red deer. The semi-domesticated herd in the Cairngorms was only introduced in 1952.

Reference: A.1937.52.a / A.1937.52.b

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

antlers, archaeology, bones, excavations, Glasgow Main Drainage Sewers, Ice Age, inter-glacials, Orkneyinga Saga, reindeer, wolves

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