Two UHI Archaeology Institute zooarchaeologists are among the researchers looking at the role of red deer in the prehistory of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.
Professor Ingrid Mainland and Dr Julia Cussans are part of the international team in the Wild Things? Developing sustainable food systems in prehistory project, led by Professor Jacqui Mulville of Cardiff University.
In all three island groups, red deer populations flourished and became integral to insular lives, just as farming systems spread across the Britain and wild food usage declined.
Deer, alongside sheep and cattle, became embedded in social, ritual and subsistence practices.
In all three archipelagos the limited landmass and challenging weather forced islanders to develop and adapt practices that allowed a wild species to thrive alongside domestic stock and crops for millennia.
Through close examination of the introduction, management, adaptations and, for some islands, the eventual extinction of deer, the project aims to explore the distinctive and sustainable ways of living with wild animals.