We know about the fish that were eaten in the period from bones which have been found during archaeological excavations. Some bones have been found whilst digging was being carried out, but most need soil samples to be washed through fine meshed sieves back in the laboratory. Some bones come from toilet pits and appear to have been chewed up before being swallowed. It has been possible to discover what kinds of fish were eaten by comparing the bones with those of fish today.
Most [[fauna|meat]] eaten by the Saxons came from animals which had more than one use. Sheep were kept for their wool and meat, cows for their milk, sinews and hides. The horn was used for fastenings, drinking vessels and had many other uses. The hide of a bull was as valuable for its leather as the meat. Even the bone was used for belt ends, needles, knife handles, pins for hair and clothing and even for ice skates! Goats were kept for their milk and meat. Only pigs seem to have been raised purely for their meat. It is not clear whether horses were killed for meat or kept purely as riding animals and beasts of burden. The act of eating horse meat became very much frowned upon, and was regarded as a pagan thing to do, so much so that laws were passed to prevent the habit. Although during times of famine, as occurs today, almost anything is game.
Pigs were important for food because they produce large litters, which would quickly mature and be ready for slaughter. However, the numbers of pigs kept gradually decreases throughout the Saxon period. Remains of pigs of all sizes have been found suggesting they were killed as and when they were needed, rather than at set times of the year.