Recent excavations at the Fruit and Vegetable Market in the historic core of Southampton revealed a cluster of intercutting pits associated with a medieval and later property boundary. One of the pits contained the femur from a turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) and dates to the 17th century. Turkey bones are very like those of chicken, simply much larger as the photo demonstrates.
They originate from North America and were first imported to parts of Europe during the early 16th century, with the earliest bone finds from England dating to the mid-16th century. Their rarity meant that they were initially consumed by the rich, but once they became more widely available, due to the establishment of breeding populations in Britain, their popularity spread and by 1585 they first start appearing on the Christmas menu in Britain. The turkey bone from the Southampton pit dates to the time when these birds started to become a more established part of the Christmas food traditions we know today.