Separating the Sheep from the Goats: Animals in Human Communities from the Roman Empire to the Early Middle Ages

A paper by Tamara Lewit, University of Melbourne, for the Ancient World Seminar at 1:00 on Monday 2 October in Theatre C, Old Arts.

Animals have received little attention in the mainstream historiography of the Roman Empire and the Early Middle Ages. Yet animals were fundamental to these (as to other) human societies, forming an essential part of the complex human interactions with the environment through farming, exploitation of uncultivated areas, industries and trade, allocation of resources, symbolism and material culture. This paper will focus on some recent findings of archaeozoology which can inform our understanding of the vital roles which animals played in the Roman Empire and the Early Middle Ages. Particular attention will be paid to the processes of change and transition between these two periods.