Eat – Pray – Love: Human-animal relations in the Neolithic

Saxo Archaeology Research Seminar Series.

With Dr Valeska Doris Becker (University of Copenhagen, The Saxo Institute).

The realization of the importance of the role animals play in human life has led, in the past decades, to the formation of human-animal studies as an academic discipline. Prehistoric archaeology can contribute to these studies, for there is an abundance of sources that can be evaluated in the light of the lives of humans and animals in all periods of prehistory and protohistory. A big change in human-animal relations occurs during the Neolithic (ca. 9600-2000 calBC), where many species were domesticated for the first time and new ways of living together developed. It is not only economic thinking that may have spawned this process, although readily availabe meat, fat, fur and milk as well as help with carrying and pulling loads certainly played a role. Rather, also symbolical and emotional aspects should be considered in order to paint a more complete picture of human-animal relations in this time.