Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/7447
Title: World Sheep and Wool Production
Contributor(s): Cottle, David  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2010
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/7447
Abstract: The word sheep is derived from the Old English or Anglo-Saxon (around 450 to 1150 AD) term 'scēap', which is akin to the Old High German (around 500 to 1050) 'scāf' and probably originated from Proto-Germanic or Gothic terms (around 300-700). Before 1200 AD, English spelling preferred 'scheap', and the shift to the currently used spelling did not occur until about 1280. The word 'ram' derives from the Old English 'rom' and subsequently 'ramm' (Barnhart, 1995). The word 'mutton' is derived from the Old French (around 1000-1300) 'moton', which was the word for sheep used by the Anglo-Norman rulers of much of the British Isles in the Middle Ages (400 to 1500 AD). This became the name for sheep meat in English, while the Old English word 'scēap' was kept for the live animal (Oxford English Dictionary, 1933). Throughout modern history, mutton has referred to the meat of mature sheep while lamb is used for the meat of immature sheep less than one year old (see Chapter 16). In the Neolithic period (starting around 10000 BC) a number of livestock species (e.g. goats, sheep, pigs and cattle) were domesticated in the Middle East and Asia, as farming spread during this period. Sheep were first domesticated between 11000-9000 BC (Simmons and Ekarius, 2001). Initially, sheep were kept solely for meat, milk and skins, however some of the earliest human civilizations used felted or woven wool for clothes and fabrics. Archaeological evidence from statues found at sites in Iran suggests that selection for woolly sheep may have begun around 6000 BC (Ensminger and Parker, 1986; Weaver, 2005) but the earliest woven wool garments have only been dated at 4000-3000 BC (Smith et al., 1997). The oldest known European woollen textile, found in a Danish bog, has been dated at ~1500 BC. By the Bronze Age (2300-600 BC in Europe), sheep with all the major features of modern breeds were widespread throughout Western Asia (Ensminger and Parker, 1986). Primitive sheep could not be shorn and their wool was plucked out by hand in a process called "rooing". Fleeces were also collected from the field after shedding. This trait survives today in more primitive breeds such as the Soay and Wiltshire Horn. Soay, along with other Northern European breeds with short tails, shedding fleeces, small size and horns, are closely related to ancient, wild sheep.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: International Sheep and Wool Handbook, p. 1-48
Publisher: Nottingham University Press
Place of Publication: Nottingham, United Kingdom
ISBN: 9781904761860
Field of Research (FOR): 070204 Animal Nutrition
070201 Animal Breeding
070203 Animal Management
070202 Animal Growth and Development
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 830310 Sheep - Meat
830311 Sheep - Wool
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/37276764
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Appears in Collections:Book Chapter
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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