Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Archaeology and Animal Persons: Toward a Prehistory of Human-Animal Relations

Erica Hill

Keywords: archaeology; hunting; ontology; personhood; prey animals

Abstract

The discipline of archaeology has long engaged with animals in a utilitarian mode, constructing animals as objects to be hunted, manipulated, domesticated, and consumed. Only recently, in tandem with the rising interest in animals in the humanities and the development of interdisciplinary animal studies research, has archaeology begun to systematically engage with animals as subjects. This article describes some of the ways in which archaeologists are reconstructing human engagements with animals in the past, focusing on relational modes of interaction documented in many hunting and gathering societies. Among the most productive lines of evidence for human-animal relations in the past are animal burials and structured deposits of animal bones. These archaeological features provide material evidence for relational ontologies in which animals, like humans, were vested with sentience and agency.

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or log in to access all content.