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The abridged version of Sheep introduction to Britain

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There were three main introductions of sheep into Britain as far as breeds are concerned, bit it is thought they arrived around 3000BC.

The main reason that they were not prevalent before this was vast areas of wooded land more suited to wild pigs and a lack of grazing for sheep.

The first to arrive were probably of the Brown Soay type and these are thought to have given rise to the modern white faced, horned breeds.

Earliest skeletal remains have been found in Wiltshire and are from the Neolithic period, which confirms theories that they were introduced from the near east by migrating Neolithic man.

It is thought that the Swiss were the first Europeans to domesticate sheep originally from South West Asia. These small wild sheep had goat like horns were named "Ovis Aries Palustris" meaning Turbary and is was the Turbary type which landed on the British mainland.

So in summary the Turbary small brown Soay type sheep arrived in Britain from South West Asia via Switzerland at the hands of Neolithic man around 3000BC.

Further reading:
M.L.Ryder; "The History of Sheep in Britain"
M.L.Ryder; "The Domestication of Sheep"
Graham Clark; "Antiquity.


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