Ring depressions in cattle horncores as indicators of traction use - a cautionary note

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Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Leicester
  • University of Exeter
  • University of York


In this short communication we call attention to the discovery of a ring depression (a circumferential constriction) in the horncore of a feral bull. This discovery casts doubt on the attribution of similar lesions in archaeological deposits as conclusive evidence of ‘cord impressions’ resulting from yoking or reining cattle for traction. Drawing upon evidence of horncore depressions in other species, we suggest that they reflect metabolic problems following horn development; additional research is required to test this hypothesis.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-142
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Paleopathology
Early online date7 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018


  • Cattle, Pathology, Traction, Depression, Horncore