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Bones, behaviour and belief

The zooarchaeological evidence as a source for ritual practice in ancient Greece and beyond


The importance of the zooarchaeological evidence as a source for ritual practices in ancient Greece is gradually becoming widely recognized. Animal bones form the only category of evidence for Greek cult which is constantly significantly increasing, and they can complement and elucidate the information provided by texts, inscriptions and images. This volume brings together sixteen contributions exploring ritual practices and animal bones from different chronological and geographical perspectives, foremost ancient Greece in the historical period, but also in the Bronze Age and as early as the Neolithic period, as well as Anatolia, France and Scandinavia, providing new empirical evidence from a number of major sanctuaries and cult-places. On a methodological level, the complexity of identifying ritual activity from the zooarchaeological evidence is a recurrent theme, as is the prominence of local variation visible in the bone material, suggesting that the written sources and iconography may offer simplified or idealized versions of the rituals actually performed. Although zooarchaeology needs to and should be integrated with other kinds of sources, the independent study of the bones in an unbiased manner is of utmost importance, as the bones can provide a different “reality” than that encountered in our other sources.

Table of contents

Jenny Wallensten & Gunnel Ekroth | Introduction: bones of contention?

Gunnel Ekroth | What we would like the bones to tell us: a sacrificial wish list

Armelle Gardeisen | L’assemblage osseux comme un dernier état de la présence animale en contexte archéologique. Gestuelle et comportements vis-à-vis de l’animal

Maria Vretemark | Evidence of animal offerings in Iron Age Scandinavia

Katerina Trantalidou | Dans l’ombre du rite : vestiges d’animaux et pratiques sacrificielles en Grèce antique. Note sur la diversité des contextes et les difficultés de recherche rencontrées

Valasia Isaakidou & Paul Halstead | Bones and the body politic? A diachronic analysis of structured deposition in the Neolithic–Early Iron Age Aegean

Peter R.W. Popkin | Hittite animal sacrifice. Integrating zooarchaeology and textual analysis

Ola Magnell | The taphonomy of ritual bone depositions. An approach to the study of animal bones and ritual practice with an example from Viking Age Frösö, Sweden

Michael MacKinnon | “Side” matters: animal offerings at ancient Nemea

Dimitra Mylona | Dealing with the unexpected. Unusual animals in an Early Roman cistern fill in the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Kalaureia, Poros

Hélène Brun & Martine Leguilloux | Rituels sacrificiels et offrandes animales dans le Sarapieion C de Délos

Deborah Ruscillo | Thesmophoriazousai. Mytilenean women and their secret rites

Tatiana Theodoropoulou | The sea in the temple? Shells, fish and corals from the sanctuary of the ancient town of Kythnos and other marine stories of cult

Sabine Sten | Sacrificed animals in Swedish Late Iron Age monumental mound burials

Gerhard Forstenpointner, Alfred Galik & Gerald E. Weissengruber | The zooarchaeology of cult. Perspectives and pitfalls of an experimental approach

Scott Scullion | Bones in Greek sanctuaries: answers and questions

Stella Georgoudi, V éronique Mehl & Francis Prost | Archéozoologie et pratiques rituelles : méthodes, matériaux et perspectives

The volum "Bones, behaviour and belief", is available at http://ecsi.bokorder.se.

Utskriven: 2024-07-22
Från sidan: Svenska institutet i Athen