Wednesday, March 27, 2024

The Archaeology of Pets and Other Animals (4 week class, spring 2024)

Summary: Man’s historical relationship with animals goes far beyond using animal parts for food, clothing, and ornaments. This class will begin with trusted pets (e.g. dogs, cats, and birds). Later we will consider relationships with animals who serve specific functions (e.g. plowing, milking, transport, war) and odd companions (e.g. snakes, geese). When were animals first domesticated? Which animals ate and slept with their humans? Which animals achieved sacred status, either as gods or as symbols of transformation and the afterlife? Types of evidence will include pet cemeteries around the world, stables and other enclosures, bone and coprolite analyses, art, and literature.

The first class introduced different types of evidence archaeologists use, including burials of animals with humans, artifacts, art, literature, and faunal analysis. 

Video: What is Zooarchaeology? (7 minute Australian video)


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