Lenny Salvagno

Dr Lenny Salvagno

Honorary Research Fellow

Email address: prp12ls@sheffield.ac.uk

PhD University of Sheffield
Honours Degree University of Parma (Italy)


Current Research

I am finalising the publication of a number of papers stemming from my PhD thesis. A methodological paper, presenting the new methodology I have developed to distinguish sheep and goat bones, has recently been published in the prestigious Journal PLoS One. Another paper, dealing with the archaeological application of my new method, is currently in preparation and a book proposal for my thesis has now been accepted by the publisher Archaeopress.

While boosting my publication record, I am also applying for several post-doc fellowships with the project ‘From pannage to sty keeping: a multi-methodological approach to the study of pig husbandry changes during the Late Medieval - Early Modern transition in England’.

I am also responsible for the organization of both the ‘Exploring Palaeoenvironments’ (14th-15th September 2017) and ‘Understanding Zooarchaeology I’ (January 2018) short courses. Moreover, as ‘sheep and goat expert’, I am providing assistance to the Zooarchaeology PhD students who are applying my new methodology on their archaeological assemblages. I am also involved in undergraduate and post-graduate modules on zooarchaeology.

Previous Research

PhD (2012-2015): The neglected goat: a methodological approach to the understanding of the role of this species in English medieval husbandry

My PhD research concerned the development of a new methodology based on biometry to distinguish sheep and goat bones. This was then applied to a number of archaeological assemblages to clarify the role that this animal played in England during the Middle Ages.
There are many gaps in the historical and archaeological evidence that preclude us from reliably assessing the role of goat in the English Middle Ages. These are in part the direct consequence of the absence of a methodology allowing the confident identification of sheep and goat bones and, in part, due to the fact that this species has always been perceived as rare in England, leading us to think that medieval goats did not deserve much attention.
The morphological approaches traditionally used to distinguish between sheep and goat bones and teeth have allowed to move archaeological knowledge substantially forward, but morphological differences can only be assessed subjectively. My newly devised biometrical approach, developed with the scope of providing a more objective and verifiable tool for identification purposes, is based on measurements which are meant to translate diagnostic morphological features into Biometrical Indices. This methodology, was first tested on modern material - providing promising results – and then applied to three English medieval sheep and goat assemblages (King’s Lynn in Norfolk, Flaxengate in Lincoln and Woolmonger Street/King Street in Northampton) in order to test its potential on archaeological material and to lay the basis for a re-assessment of the role of the goat in medieval England.
The outcome from my study has confirmed what many researchers had observed in the past: 1) the goat was indeed not abundant in medieval England, thus this species has not been under-estimated by zooarchaeologists; 2) in the medieval archaeological record, sheep remains are always overwhelmingly better represented than goat remains. A diversified picture for the medieval English goat has emerged from the case studies analysed: in urbanised and industrially specialised centres, the goat appears to have been mainly used for its skin and horns (explaining the accumulations of goat horncores frequently found in such places); the sheep/goat assemblage from King’s Lynn is a perfect example for such phenomenon. These site types, mainly located on the east coast, are likely to have been associated with a trade in goat skins with southern Europe, where this species was more abundant. On the other hand, in rural sites and in urban sites outside industrialised areas where accumulations of goat horncores have not been found, the goat may have represented an alternative, but rarely used source of meat and dairy products. This was the case both at Flaxengate and Woolmonger Street/Kingswell Street.

Analysis of the faunal remains from Sotćiastel, a Bronze Age site near Bolzano (northern Italy)

For my degree dissertation I studied, under the supervision of Dr. Umberto Tecchiati and Dr. Sandro Bonardi at the University of Parma (Italy), the animal bone assemblage from Sotciastel, a Bronze Age hill site in northern Italy. Sotćiastel has provided one of the largest animal bone assemblages of northern Italy (about 24,000 specimens) which allowed an in depth understanding of the agro-pastoral econ¬omy practiced at the site, and more in general, a detailed insight into the relationship between humans and environment as well as humans and animals.


Research Experience:

I have been a visiting researcher at the University of Sheffield for 1 year and a half, working with Umberto Albarella before starting my PhD with him. During my time at Sheffield I took part in several activities such as:

  1. The curation of the zooarchaeology skeletal collection
  2. The curation of the zooarchaeology electronic library
  3. The preparation of enamel samples from cattle teeth for Sr isotopic analysis (aided by a University Research and Innovation grant)
  4. Laboratory demonstration for undergraduate and master students (Modules: 'Introduction to Zooarchaeology' and 'Advanced Zooarchaeology')
  5. Lecturing and demonstrating during the zooarchaeology short courses (Understanding Zooarchaeology I and Advanced Zooarchaeology) at the Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield.
  6. The organization of monthly discussion meetings in zooarchaeology (2013-2014).
  7. The organization of seminars on zooarchaeology related topics (2015-2016)
  8. The participation to other relevant seminars and informal debates.

I have also studied a large collection of cattle horn cores from an 18th century site Greenwich High Road, London, along with Sarah Viner. The work aims to understand the use of animal bones as building material, investigate practices of butchery and bone/horn working, use biometrical information to determine the age and sex of the cattle deposited at the site, and begin to explore notions of superstition in the choice of building material.

I have received training in numerous archaeological techniques, and have worked on archaeological sites of the Bronze Age, Roman and Medieval periods.

In collaboration with Bolzano Archaeological Heritage Office, I studied the animal remains of Sotćiastel, northern Italy. Sotćiastel is an important Bronze Age fortified site and the results of my work there will be published in a dedicated monograph. This work includes analysis of four lots of specimens in which the faunal remains of the area have been divided.

Always in collaboration with the above mentioned Institution, I have recently analysed the faunal assemblage of Villa Bassa, a Roman Villa in the North of Italy, and two interesting faunal assemblages from two important worship places: the Iron Age sanctuary of Este (PD Italy), dedicated to the goddess Reitia, and the Roman worship site of Villa di Villa di Cordignano (TV, Italy).



I graduated with a degree in archaeology from the University of Parma, Italy, in 2007. The title of my dissertation was "The faunal remain of Sotćiastel (BZ), Italy", and was supervised by Dr. Alessandro Bonardi and Dr. Umberto Tecchiati. The dissertation focussed on part of the faunal assemblage from a Bronze Age site near Bolzano, North Italy. It was made possible by a scholarship from Claudia Augusta public library of Bolzano and the assignment of the publication of my dissertation.



Salvagno L. and Albarella U. 2017. A morphometric system to distinguish between sheep and goat post cranial bones. PLos One (journals.plos.org/plosone/article)

Salvagno L., Viner-Daniels S. and Albarella U. 2017. Building and tanning in the 18th and 19th centuries: an analysis of cattle horncores from Greenwich High Road (London). Journal of Post Medieval Archaeology (www.tandfonline.com/eprint/un2kpvdEEkqgP7NNFiWv/full)

Salvagno L. 2014. The role of goat in English medieval husbandry and economy: current challenges and future directions, Assemblage PZAF, 101-110.

Salvagno L. 2013. Micro-mammals. In Armit, I. & J. McKenzie (eds.) An Inherited Place: Broxmouth hillfort and the southeast Scottish Iron Age, Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 469-471.

Salvagno L. 2013. Bird bone. In Armit, I. & J. McKenzie (eds.) An Inherited Place: Broxmouth hillfort and the southeast Scottish Iron Age, Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 471-473.

Salvagno L. and Tecchiati U. 2013. Resti faunistici del IV-II sec. a.C. provenienti dal sito di Utijëi/St. Ulrich/Ortisei, Ciamp de Mauriz. Ladinia, XXXVII, Istitut Ladin Micurà de Rü, San Martin de Tor.

Salvagno L., Tecchiati U., Bianchin Citton E., and Persichetti A. 2012. I resti faunistici dell’età del Ferro da Este - Via Caldevigo (PD, Italy), 7 Convegno Nazionale di Archeozoologia 22-24 Novembre 2012, Museologia Scientifica e Naturalistica 8/3 (abstract book), 34-35.

Salvagno L. and Tecchiati U. 2011. I resti faunistici del villaggio dell’eta del Bronzo di Sotćiastel: economia e vita di una comunita’ protostorica alpina (ca. XVII-XIV sec. a.C.). Istitut Ladin Micurà de Rü, San Martin de Tor.

Salvagno L. 2009. I resti faunistici. In E. Banzi, M.Livaccari and U.Tecchiati (eds). Villabassa. Atti Accademia Roveretana Agiati, VIII, vol. IX, A, fasc. I, 245.

Salvagno L. and Tecchiati U. (accepted). La fauna dell’Età del Bronzo Antico-Medio di Castelrotto, Bolzano. Preistoria Alpina.

Salvagno L. And Tecchiati U. Forthcoming. Deposito rituale o deposito speciale? Il contributo dell’archeozoologia alla definizione dei contesti cultuali: alcuni casi di studio della preistoria e protostoria italiana.



Salvagno L. And Tecchiati U. 2014. The faunal remains from Villa di Villa of Cordignano (TV, Italy): Zooarchaeological insight into a 2nd century B.C. to 1st century A.D. sanctuary: preliminary results. Poster presented at the 1st ICAZ Roman period working group, Sheffield, 20th-22nd November 2014.

Salvagno L. 2012. The neglected goat: a methodological approach to the understanding of the role of this species in English medieval husbandry. Poster presented at Postgraduate Zooarchaeology Forum, Sheffield, 3rd-4th November 2012.

Salvagno L. 2011. Surplus production, tanning and the use of waste material for construction:  a horn core drain from Greenwich High Road, south east London. Poster presented at the Association for Environmental Archaeology, Amsterdam 21st-23rd October 2011.