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The relationship between people and dogs has its beginnings in the Palaeolithic and extends tocontemporary times. This paper explores the role of dogs in Eneolithic communities from the Balkans, witha particular focus on two dog mandibles which were discovered in House No. 14 at Sultana-Malu Ros ̧u(ca. 4600–3950B.C.) in Romania. The two artifacts belong to different excavation levels. The firstmandible was identified in the foundation trench which marks the beginning of the house’s lifecycle; thesecond was found in the abandonment level of the house, marking the end of its lifecycle.Archaeozoological, technological and functional analyses demonstrate the unique character of theseprehistoric artifacts, telling the stories of those who used, sacrificed and abandoned them.
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Dogs, jaws, and other stories: Two symbolic
objects made of dog mandibles from
southeastern Europe
̆lin Laza
̆r1, Monica Ma
̆rit2, Adrian Ba
National History Museum of Romania, Bucharest, Romania,
Valahia University of Târgovis
̧te, Târgovis
̦a County, Romania
The relationship between people and dogs has its beginnings in the Palaeolithic and extends to
contemporary times. This paper explores the role of dogs in Eneolithic communities from the Balkans, with
a particular focus on two dog mandibles which were discovered in House No. 14 at Sultana-Malu Ros¸u
(ca. 4600 3950 B.C.) in Romania. The two artifacts belong to different excavation levels. The first
mandible was identified in the foundation trench which marks the beginning of the houses lifecycle; the
second was found in the abandonment level of the house, marking the end of its lifecycle.
Archaeozoological, technological and functional analyses demonstrate the unique character of these
prehistoric artifacts, telling the stories of those who used, sacrificed and abandoned them.
Keywords: Eneolithic, southeastern Europe, dog mandible, synecdoche, Gumelnit¸a
There is a long history of interaction between people
and dogs. The dog played the role of mans best
friend, protector of the domestic space, hunting com-
panion, traction or pack animal, but sometimes it
was also used as a source of raw materials, medicinal
and aphrodisiac products, or even as a nutritional
source (Wissler 1915;Choyke 2010;Morey 2010;
Russell 2012). It had the function of totem, trophy,
taboo, and pariah, or as a symbol for kinship and
origins; it was an essential element in various rituals,
ceremonies, funeral practices, sacrifices, or in con-
structing spiritual systems (Copet-Rougier 1988;
Aujollet 1997;Choyke 2010;Russell 2012). Canids
are still used in modern times as pets, working
animals (guarding, tracking, searching, detection,
rescue, herding, guiding, therapy, service, hunting,
war and policing) and even for entertainment (in
social and sporting events, circuses, music events,
movies and TV shows) (Hart 1995;Coppinger and
Coppinger 2001;Morey 2010;Hare and Woods 2013).
All this illustrates the dogs special symbolism in
different communities in time and space, a situation
easier to understand if we start with the assertion of
Claude Lévi-Strauss (1971: 139): le singe est proche
de lhomme selon la nature, par ressemblance physique,
comme le chien est proche de lhomme selon la culture,
par contiguïté sociale. In this context, here we present
two unusual artifacts with unique characteristics,
made of dog mandibles and discovered at Sultana-
Malu Ros¸u in southeastern Romania.
The setting of the site
The site of Sultana-Malu Ros¸u is in the northern
Balkans, on the western high terrace of the old
Mostis¸tea River (which was converted into several
artificial lakes) about 7 km from the Danube River,
near the border with Bulgaria (FIG.1). It is located
ca. 300 m northeast of Sultana village, Ca
County, Romania (Laza
˘r 2014). The scientific study
of Sultana-Malu Ros¸u began in 1923 and continues
to the present (Andries¸escu 1924;Isa
˘cescu 1984a,
1984b;Andreescu and Laza
˘r 2008). The site consists
of a multi-component settlement (tell) and its necro-
polis (Laza
˘r 2014). Unfortunately, since 1923 most
of the settlement has eroded into Lake Mostis¸tea.
Today only a part of the 1544 sq m area is preserved.
The shape of the settlement was oval, oriented north-
eastsouthwest (FIG.2). The corresponding absolute
altitude is between 42.005 and 46.280 masl.
Chronological and cultural framework
The site belongs to the Gumelnit
̦a culture (ca. 4600
3950 B.C.), part of the larger Eneolithic Kodjadermen-
Gumelnit¸a-Karanovo VI complex occupying southeast-
ern Romania, the southern part of the Republic of
Correspondence to: Monica Ma
˘rit, Valahia University of Târgovis¸ te, Bd.
Carol I, no. 2, 130024, Târgovis¸ te, Romania. Email: monicamargarit@;Ca
˘lin Laza
˘r, National History Museum of Romania, Calea
Victoriei, no. 12, 030026, Bucharest, Romania. Email:
© Trustees of Boston University 2015
DOI 10.1080/00934690.2015.1114850 Journal of Field Archaeology 2015 VOL. 0NO. 01
Moldova and the Ukraine, the eastern half of Bulgaria
(on both sides of the Balkan mountains) and extending
south to the Aegean Sea (Todorova 1978,1986;
Dumitrescu et al. 1983;Petrescu-Dîmbovit
Popovici 2010). The AMS radiocarbon dates obtained
for Sultana-Malu Ros¸u (n =8) span 4539 to 3961 CAL
B.C. (95.4% probability) (TABLE 1). Thus, the settlement
was likely occupied and activities took place during
Gumelnit¸a phases A1, A2, and B1, a fact that confirms
previous stratigraphic observations.
Materials and Methods
The archaeological context
Archaeological research at Sultana-Malu Ros¸u
involved an interdisciplinary approach. The
excavations used microstratigraphic methods to
record the stratigraphic data, coupled with a series of
non-intrusive techniques (geomagnetic and electrical),
and GIS support. All of these were combined with
aerial research (to investigate landscape transform-
ations), paleoecological studies (palynology,
carpology, sedimentology, malacology, archaeozool-
ogy), radiocarbon, aDNA, paleodietary, and paleo-
parasitology sampling and the sieving of feature
Both dog mandibles were discovered in House No.
14 (H14) from the settlement (FIG.3). The building
was burnt and abandoned, a common phenomenon
in multi-component settlements from the Balkans in
the 5th millennium B.C.(Stevanovic
1999;Popovici 2010). The building belongs to the
Gumelnit¸a A2 phase and is located between ca.
2.10 m and 3.30 m below the datum point of the site
(at 46.292 masl). No major stratigraphic disturbances
were recorded that would affect the context of the
building (FIG.4A).
H14 was at the eastern limit of the settlement
(FIG.2) and had characteristics similar to those of
other buildings investigated there. Thus, the building
had a flat rectangular shape (ca. 6 ×8 m), oriented
north-south (FIG.3), and it was a typical wattle and
daub building with a single room. It is very interesting
that on the northern and the western sides, the house
had foundation trenches (C1/2010 and C6/2010),
but on the other two sides, the walls were built directly
on the soil. The floor of the building was made of clay,
and several successive reworked layers have been
identified. The artifacts recovered from this building
were discovered in situ and are modest in terms of
quality and not numerous. They are typical of
̦a communities: flint tools, ceramic sherds,
ground stone tools, and ornaments. Based on this evi-
dence the building could be considered to be a simple
house with no special function (e.g., workshop, sanc-
tuary, annex, or something else). The small quantity
of artifacts found inside H14 indicates that the inhabi-
tants recovered all important and necessary items
before leaving and deliberately burning it.
H14 has two key moments (archaeologically
recorded) marked by the dog mandibles (FIG.4B).
The first dog mandible (MD1) was discovered in the
northern foundation trench of H14 (C6/2010). This
trench had an elongated oval shape with a length of
5.30 m and a width between 0.45 and 0.50 m; on the
bottom were found five circular post holes (FIG.3B).
Its maximum depth was 0.40 m. The trench fill (s.u.
1250) consisted of compact, heterogeneous and
reddish colored sediment that contained pottery frag-
ments, animal bones, shells, stones, and pieces of
flint and daub. These materials comprised not more
than 20% of the fill and had a stabilizing function.
Figure 1 Map of Romania and the location of the Sultana-
Malu Ros¸ u site.
Figure 2 The multi-component settlement of Sultana-Malu
Ros¸ u and the houses of the Gumelnit¸a culture.
̆retalDogs, jaws, and other stories.
Journal of Field Archaeology 2015 VOL. 0NO. 02
MD1 was in the eastern part of the fill, at its base (at
3.14 m below the datum point of the site (FIG.3B).
The second dog mandible (MD2) was found in H14 in
the abandonment level (s.u. 1318) near its western limit,
at 2.56 m in depth (FIG.3A). In the same level, in associ-
ation with MD2 were found some pottery fragments,
flint tools, limestones and a human femur diaphysis.
None of this material (including MD2) had traces of
burning. This abandonment level was formed a very
short time after the burning of H14 (FIG.4B).
A tooth from MD1 (P4) was
C dated to 5570 ±40
B.P. (Poz-52983). The calibrated date is 4488 4342
CAL B.C. (95.4% probability) (TABLE 1). This proves
that the dog mandibles are contemporary with H14
and belong to Gumelnit¸a phase A2.
Considering the dating and the context of the dog
mandibles, it is clear that they are not just ordinary
scattered pieces. The presence of two dog mandibles
can be associated with the individual histories of this
building, from its initial construction through to its
Archaeozoological background
The dog is documented in settlements of the Gumelnit
culture in different archaeological contexts (e.g., houses,
footpaths, trenches,wasteareas, pits or burials). No dog
bones have been documented in the cemeteries.
The frequency of dog bones is very low compared
with the frequencies of other domestic species
(FIG.5). The percentages of Canis familiaris at most
̦a sites does not exceed 5% (TABLE 2)
(FIG.5). At three settlements (Ca
˘scioarele, Na
Taraschina) percentages range between 5% and 7%
and only in the case of the multi-component sites of
Bordus¸ani, Cos
̦ereni and Hârs
̦ova (TABLE 2)(FIG.5),
do dog bone percentages range between 12.5% and
16.9% (Ba
̦escu et al. 2005b;S
̦tefan et al. 2012).
Based on the available data, dogs were bred by
̦a communities for different domestic activi-
ties (hunting, guarding the herd and probably the
houses, and acting as mans best friend). It is very dif-
ficult to outline a mortality pattern for these prehisto-
ric dogs, because no one knows the lifespan of a dog in
that period. Nowadays the lifespan of a dog is around
10 years, but there are cases where dogs have reached
the age of 1722 years, depending on variety and
size (Huidekoper 1891: 194). Unfortunately, age esti-
mations cannot be made of bones discovered in exca-
vations; epiphyseal closure can be assigned only in
general (higher or lower than 2 years). We also know
Table 1 AMS radiocarbon dates obtained for the site of Sultana-Malu Ros¸ u. The calibration of the radiocarbon dates was made
with OxCal v4.1.5 (Bronk Ramsey 2009). Calibration with 2σconfidence is based on the IntCal09 dataset (Reimer et al. 2009).
Sample no. Context Sample material Lab no.
C years (B.P.)
95.4% range
(CAL B.C.)
028.SMR-TELL-L5 House No.5 Animal bone Poz-52547 5630 ±40 45394365
025-SMR-L5-1003 House No.5 Animal bone Poz-47215 5630 ±40 45394365
112.SMR-C6/2010 House No.14 Animal tooth Poz-52983 5570 ±40 44884342
022-SMR-TELL-L2 House No.2 Charcoal Poz-52444 5490 ±50 44514253
026-SMR-L1 House No.1 Animal bone Poz-47216 5460 ±40 43684236
014-SMR-L5-1000 House No.5 Animal bone Poz-47209 5360 ±50 43294051
032.SMR-TELL-L2 House No.2 Animal bone Poz-52550 5250 ±40 42303973
023-SMR-TELL-L1 House No.1 Animal bone Poz-52542 5230 ±50 41743961
Figure 3 A) House No. 14; B) Foundation trench C6/2010. The triangles mark the locations where the dog mandibles were
Journal of Field Archaeology 2015 VOL. 0NO. 03
that dentition changes and becomes permanent
around the age of 6 months. Studies made on dog den-
tition (Horard-Herbin 1997), based only on lower car-
nassial wear (M1), allow the assignment of teeth to 5
categories: A and B (young individuals), C (subadult),
D (adult) and E (old adult). In most of the Gumelnit
sites where dog percentages are below 5% (TABLE 2)
(FIG. 5), the majority of individuals may be placed in
the subadult and adult classes (over 95%). The
young individuals represent around 5%, while older
adults are very rarely documented. After death,
besides their secondary products (skin and fur), dog
bones were used as raw materials for manufacturing
various artifacts (TABLE 3). Also, in some cases (e.g.,
at Hârs¸ova, Bordus¸ani, Vita
˘nes¸ti, Taraschina) canids
represented an important food resource (TABLE 2)
̦escu et al. 2005b;Ba
̦escu and Radu 2011).
The measurements of the two dog mandibles were
made according to the international standards estab-
lished by Angela von den Driesch (1976),usinga
caliper with an instrumental accuracy of 1/10 mm.
Age estimation was based on the existing dentition
(erupted in mandibular alveoli) according to Elisabeth
Schmid (1972), while to assess tooth wear patterns the
method of Marie-Pierre Horard-Herbin (1997) was
used. Also, to establish the size of these dogs in com-
parison with other specimens from the same species in
the Gumelnit
̦a culture, we made some estimates of the
cranial base lengths using Dahr and Brinkmann
indices (von den Driesch 1976: 61).
Animal bone industry
A review of the literature reveals a certain lack of tech-
nological and functional analyses of the animal bones
Figure 4 A) Stratigraphic diagram of House No. 14: (1318)the abandonment level; (1244) the destruction level; (12401243,
12521253, 12571258, 12601269, 12751280)the post holes; (12381239, 12501251) the foundation trenches; (1254) the
house floor; (1249) the exterior level of the house; B) Events in the lifecycle of House No. 14.
̆retalDogs, jaws, and other stories.
Journal of Field Archaeology 2015 VOL. 0NO. 04
in the Gumelnit
̦a cultural asssemblages in both
Romania and Bulgaria. Generally, the excavation
reports, even recent ones, offer only general infor-
mation in the form of standard phrases, e.g., the
inventory is completed by tools made of flint, bone
and antler.In the best of cases, they provide only
an enumeration of the principal types, with almost
no functional or technological considerations, and
even fewer archaeozoological determinations.
Based on available techno-functional studies of
animal bones identified in Gumelnit¸a settlements
(Frînculeasa et al. 2010;S
̦tefan et al. 2012;Ma
et al. 2013;Ma
˘rit et al. 2014), it can be observed
that these communities had a particular strategy of
domestic and wild animal utilization (TABLE 2). From
the published data, it is impossible to understand the
importance of artifacts made of Canis familiaris
bones in Gumelnit¸a communities, however.
The only good information is from archaeological
features from 11 Gumelnit¸a sites (TABLE 3), where we
have carried out direct observations. The frequency
of artifacts made from dog bones is very low compared
to that of other species. In most sites, their percentage
is between 1% and 1.5%. In three settlements
̦ereni, Cunes
̦ti and Seciu) the artifacts made of
dog bones represent between 4% and 8%, but many
of these artifacts are small in size. Typologically, one
can distinguish the following: beveled objects (n =
11), awls (n =19), pendants (n =2) and a spatula
(n =1) (TABLE 3).
Based on such a limited sample, however, it is diffi-
cult to identify use patterns of Canis familiaris bones.
In our opinion, the types (above) are strictly of a tech-
nological nature (the shapes of the bones are the same
as the shapes of the tools). Very different seems to be
the significance of Canis familiaris mandibles at
Sultana-Malu Ros¸u, where their transformation into
amulets seems to have been determined not by techno-
logical, but by other (cultural) requirements.
In order to extract technological and functional
information, which might help in the decoding of the
mandibleshistory, both of them were studied with a
Keyence VHX-600 digital microscope. Thus, they
were observed at magnifications between 30×and
150×, and the images were captured with the aid of a
camera in the microscope.
Figure 5 The percentages of wild and domestic species at sites comprising the Gumelnit¸a culture.
Journal of Field Archaeology 2015 VOL. 0NO. 05
Archaeozoological analysis
The MD1 and MD2 mandibles were found in two
different archaeological levels, but were parts of the
same archaeological sequence. MD1 is a right mand-
ible and has the following teeth: P4 ( premolar), M1
and M2 (molars); it weighs 25 g (FIG.6). The lingual
(internal) part shows traces of radicels, a fact that
might suggest that this part was found near the soil
surface. The lateral (external) part of the mandible is
much better preserved, being less affected by tapho-
nomic processes. According to the system proposed
by Hoarard-Herbin (1997), the animal was of inter-
mediary age (subadult) based on M1 wear. The coro-
noid process has an artificial perforation.
MD2 is a left mandible, and it is quite whole and
weights 28 g (FIG.7). The mandible does not have
any teeth and it is broken at the level of the angular
process. Due to this fact it was not possible to obtain
all measurements (TABLE 4). The piece is less affected
Table 3 Quantity and percentages of artifacts made of animal bones in the settlements of the Gumelnit¸a culture.
Quantity of
bone artifacts (no.)
made of dog
bones (no.)
made of dog
bones (%)
Type of
artifacts made
of dog bones *
Dog bones
used to make
artifacts ** Reference
Bordus¸ ani 351 8 2.2 ■● unpublished
Carcaliu 59 2 3.4 ■◇unpublished
Cos¸ ereni 24 2 8.3 ●▲ S
̦tefan et al. 2012
Cunes¸ti 40 2 5 ■● Ma
˘rit et al. 2013
Hârs¸ ova 412 10 2.4 ■● unpublished
Luncavița 278 1 0.3 ■◇unpublished
˘riut¸a 122 2 1.6 Ma
˘rit et al. 2014
Seciu 16 1 6.2 Frînculeasa et al. 2010
Sultana 170 2 1.1 unpublished
Taraschina 30 1 3.3 ■◇unpublished
˘nes¸ti 237 3 1.2 ●◆ unpublished
*=awl; =beveled object; =indeterminate object; =pendant; =spatula.
** =femur; =humerus; =mandible; =radius; =tibia; =ulna.
Table 2 Percentages of domestic and wild fauna and the uses of the dog in the settlements of the Gumelnit¸a culture (for which
archaeozoological analyses are available).
Mammal bone
Domestic fauna
Wild fauna
Dog eaten or
skinned* Reference
̦ani 9317 78.0 22.0 14.4 Ba
̦escu et al. 2005b
̦ani 808 64.2 35.8 1.9 Ba
̦escu 1998
Carcaliu 481 42.8 57.2 2.7 Haimovici 1996
˘scioarele 2829 15.9 84.1 5.9 Ba
̦escu et al. 2005b
Chitila 481 67.6 32.4 1.7 Ba
̦escu et al. 2003
̦ereni 127 89.8 10.2 12.5 S
̦tefan et al. 2012
Drama 6626 92.7 7.3 1.8 Manhart 1998
̦ti-Olt 2234 62.6 37.4 2.2 El Susi 2002
Ezero 979 85.3 14.7 3.1 Manhart 1998
13143 52.1 47.9 1.8 Manhart 1998
̦a 2362 86.1 13.9 3.2 Necrasov and Haimovici
̦ova 5310 76.0 24.0 16.9 Ba
̦escu et al. 2005b
˘ței 581 51.6 48.4 3.4 Moise 1999
Luncavița 924 47.2 52.8 2.3 Ba
̦escu et al. 2005b
Ovcarovo 8910 66.6 33.4 3.2 Manhart 1998
˘riuța 526 86.5 13.5 2.5 Ba
̦escu et al. 2005b
˘vodari 425 77.4 22.6 6.4 Moise 2001
Pietrele 10804 47.5 52.5 4.6 Hansen et al. 2006
Seciu 259 62.5 37.5 1.5 Popa et al. 2011
Sultana 369 94.3 5.7 3.5 Bréhard and Ba
Tangâru 256 97.3 2.7 1.6 Necrasov and Haimovici
Taraschina 965 91.0 9.0 6.7 Ba
̦escu and Radu
Targoviste 15477 91.7 8.3 1.7 Manhart 1998
̦ti 7180 42.0 58.0 2.6 Ba
̦escu et al. 2005b
˘diceasca 10577 90.2 9.8 3.5 Ba
̦escu et al. 2005b
*=eaten; =eaten and skinned.
̆retalDogs, jaws, and other stories.
Journal of Field Archaeology 2015 VOL. 0NO. 06
by roots, but has a series of fine cracks in the cortical
bone. The absence of teeth makes a precise estimation
of the age impossible, but the fact that all the definitive
teeth were erupted suggests an age of over 6 months
(Schmid 1972). On the lingual (internal) side to the
right of M2 and M3 were observed two fine oblique
cutting traces: one (near M2) of 13.2 mm in length
and another of 9.9 mm (near M3) suggesting the
detachment of the adjacent tissues from the bone.
Based on the taphonomic data it can be concluded
that both dogs from Sultana-Malu Ros
̦u were
skinned after they died and perhaps fur was recovered
for use as a raw material. The lack of other skeletal
elements does not allow us to know if these dogs
died naturally, accidentally or if they were deliberated
killed. Because of this, it is difficult to determine pre-
cisely if the meat of these dogs was consumed or not.
The other data for this site do not suggest that dog
was included in the diet of the people, in contrast
with the situation documented at other contemporary
settlements (e.g., at Hârs
̦ova, Taraschina or Vita
Morphologically and biometrically, the two pieces
are different and derive from different individuals
(FIGS.6,7). The biometrical data are within the
known values for the Gumelnit¸a culture (Ba
et al. 2005b). Thus, an estimation of the basal length
of the skull, based on the Dahr parameters (von den
Driesch 1976:61), allowed us to obtain some close
values in the case of the two analyzed mandibles:
MD1 =145.1 mm and MD2 =145.8 mm. Based on
the Brinkmann parameters (von den Driesch 1976:
61) we observed a considerable difference between
the two pieces: MD1 =144.5 mm and MD2 =
152.3 mm. These values are higher than the averages
for the Gumelnit
̦a culture in Romania with respect
to the Dahr parameters (average =131.9 mm, n =
92, limits 98.0 179.0 mm) and the Brinkmann par-
ameters (average =131.4 mm, n =57, limits
110.1155.0 mm) but are within the observed limits.
Technical and functional analysis
The surface of MD1, on the lingual side (FIG.6), was
strongly affected by radicels which destroyed part of
the technological and functional marks that could
have been indicators of processing and utilization.
Still, despite the degradation of the surface, it was
possible to establish that the perforation technique
was rotation, proven by a small area of circular
Table 4 Sultana-Malu Ros¸ u dog mandible measurements.
Code (von den Driesch 1976) MD1 (mm) right MD2 (mm) left
1 121.7 121.4
2 120.1
3 115.7 114.9
4 105.4 106.1
5 99.7 100.1
6 104.1
7 68.7 73.3
8 65 67.7
9 60.9 63.8
10 32.1 35
11 33.9 35.1
12 29.8 31.1
13 L 20.8
13 l 8.1
14 19.8 20.8
15 L 7.9
15 l 5.7
18 48.7 43.8
19 20.5 18.4
20 17 17.3
22 145.3
23 144.4 145.4
24 145.6 146.1
25 145.1 145.8
26 144.5 152.3
Figure 7 Dog mandible MD2 lateral side (top) and lingual
side (bottom).
Figure 6 Dog mandible MD1 lateral side (top) and lingual
side (bottom).
Journal of Field Archaeology 2015 VOL. 0NO. 07
scratches (FIG.8AB). It seems that on the lateral side,
in order to enlarge the perforation, percussion was
applied, the perforation base being characterized by
shiveringwith visible impact points. On the same
side, towards the extremity, on the coronoid process,
are traces of usage (FIG.8CD). Around the perforation
is an area which is characterized by the partial elimin-
ation of the manufacturing marks and the smoothing
of the walls (FIG.8EF). This area seems to have been
the passage area for the thread used for hanging up
the piece.
For MD2, the proper preservation of the surface
allows for more detailed technological observations
(FIG.7). The preforation technique was rotated alter-
nately from both sides, the specific scratches being a
good indicator of the method (FIG.9AB). Moreover,
on the superior side of the perforation, more visible
on the lateral side, is a strip of macroscopic polishing
that indicates the passage area for the thread used
for suspension (FIG.9CD). In this area, the perforation
walls are smoothed, partially eliminating the rotation
scratches (FIG.9C). Furthermore, it can be assumed
that the small fracture that appears on the coronoid
process is a consequence of thread pressure, because
polishing is sumperimposed over the fracture
(FIG.9D). On the whole surface of the lingual side,
macroscopic polishing was observed and this fact
might signify that there was contact with some
material. Microscopically an area of scratches which
are longitudinal to the axis (FIG.9F) illustrates
Figure 8 The MD1 circular perforation. A) (50×magnification) lingual side; B) Lateral side; C, D) Traces of usage (50×and 150×
magnification) on the coronoid process; E, F) Details of the perforation (200×and 100×magnification) and the technological
̆retalDogs, jaws, and other stories.
Journal of Field Archaeology 2015 VOL. 0NO. 08
prolonged contact so that the structure of the material
was imprinted.
The interaction of people and dogs began in the
Palaeolithic, the oldest findings being those from
Goyet (Belgium) dated at ca. 36,000 CAL B.P., and
those from Razboinichya Cave (Russia) dated at ca.
33,000 CAL B.P.(Ovodov et al. 2011). Most of the
well-documented remains of early domestic dog
come from the late Glacial and early Holocene
periods (ca. 14,0009000 CAL B.P.) as demonstrated
by finds from Pr
ˇedmosti (Czech Republic), Eliseevici
(Russia), Mezin and Mezirich (Ukraine), and
Montespan, Le Closeau, Pont dAmbon and Le
Morin rockshelter (France) (Sablin and Khlopachev
2002;Maud et al. 2011;Boudadi-Maligne et al.
2012;Germonpré et al. 2012).
The origins of dog domestication has given rise to
different theories and controversies (Davis and Vala
1978;Vilá et al. 1997;Morey 2006, 2010; Wayne
et al. 2006;Lupo 2011;Russell 2012). Beyond these
theories, one sees an increased wild/domestic dichot-
omy through time and the accentuation of the nature
vs. culture relationship (Russell 2002). That had sig-
nificant consequences for human thought, socioeco-
nomic structures and perceptions about the world.
Thus, in the Mesolithic, in different parts of the world
(e.g., at Ain Mallaha and Hayonim Terrace, Lepenski
Vir, Vlasac, Lokomotiv-Raisovet, Skateholm I and II)
Figure 9 The MD2 circular perforation. A) (30×magnification) lateral side; B) lingual side; C, D) Traces of usage around the
perforation (100×magnification) and on the coronoid process (150×magnification); E) Cutting traces on the lingual side; F)
Macroscopic usage traces on the lateral side (150×magnification).
Journal of Field Archaeology 2015 VOL. 0NO. 09
Table 5 Archaeological sites containing dog bones from the Neolithic and Eneolithic periods in Europe. Sites are arranged by date.
Region Culture/group*
Dates (B.C.) Site
Dog use
Complete bodies Body parts
in human
source References
Serbia Starc
ˇevo-Cris¸ ca. 62005300 Padina –––Clason 1980
ˇevo –––
Vojvodina Perlez –––– Boric
Italy Cardial ca. 60005500 Grotta Continenza –––– Malone 2003
Catignano ca. 56004800 Catignano –––– Russell 2012
Romania Dudes¸ ti ca. 55005000 Ma
˘gura Buduiasca –– –Ba
˘s¸escu et al. 2005b
Beciu –––
Serbia Vinc
ˇa ca. 55004500 Divostin –– –Bökönyi 1988
Gomolava ––Lichter 2001
Opovo ––Russell 2012
Romania Liubcova-Ornit¸a –– –Ba
˘s¸escu et al. 2005b
Slovakia LBK ca. 55004500 Nitra –––Jeunesse 1997
––Bistáková and Paz
ˇinová 2010
Blatné ––
Germany Aiterhofen –––– Jeunesse 1997
Romania Boian ca. 55004500 Isaccea –––Ba
˘s¸escu et al. 2005b
Hârs¸ova –––
Izvoarele –––
Bulgaria Hamangia ca. 52004500 Durankulak –––– Spassov and Iliev 2002
Hungary Tisza ca. 50004500 Hódmezóvásárhely-
Gorzsa II
––Lichter 2001
Slovakia Cso
˝szhalom ca. 50004500 C
ˇarovce ––––
Hungary Oborin ––––
Italy SMP ca. 49504050 Chiozza ––Brea et al. 2010
Bagnolo San Vito ●● ––
Ponte Ghiara ––
Arene Candide –– –
Parma-via Guidorossi ––
Collecchio-CaLunga ––––
Collecchio-Tangenziale –––
Pontetaro ––
Hungary Lengyel ca. 49003950 Zengo
˝várkony ––Lichter 2001
˝domb ––
Slovakia Lengyel ca. 49003950 Svodín ––Bistáková and Paz
ˇinová 2010
Romania Foieni ca. 48004500 Lumea Noua
˘––Gligor 2011
Italy Ripoli ca. 47003300 Ripoli ––Brea et al. 2010
Bulgaria KGK VI ca. 45003800 Rousse –––– Chernakov 2010
Romania Bordus
̦ani-Popina –––●● Ba
˘s¸escu et al. 2005b
̦ova-tell –––●●
̆retalDogs, jaws, and other stories.
Journal of Field Archaeology 2015 VOL. 0NO. 010
̦ti –––
Taraschina –––Ba
˘s¸escu and Radu 2011
Hungary Tiszapolgár ca. 45004000 Tiszapolgár-
●●–– Lichter 2001
Tiszaföldvár ––
Vojvodina Srpski-Krstur ––
France Chasseen ca. 45003500 Saint-Paul-Trois-
––Beeching and Crubezy 1998
Plots a Berriac-Aude ––Vaquer 1998
Martins a Roussillon-
Ukraine Sredny Stog ca.45003500 Dereivka ––Telegin 1986
Italy Serra dAlto ca.45003500 Cala Colombo ●●–– Brea et al. 2010
France Michelsberg ca.44003500 Bretteville-le Rabert ––Arbogast et al. 1989,Arbogast et al.
France Arnaville-Le
Germany Heilbronn-
–– Seidel 2010
Denmark TRB ca. 41002800 Gammellung –––– Tilley 1996
U.K. Windmill Hill ca. 36003300 Windmill Hill ––Harcourt 1974
ca. 34002500 Staines Road Farm –––– Clark 1996b
France Véraza ca. 30002300 Can-Pey –––– Vigne 1982
Ireland Beaker ca. 25001800 Newgrange –– van Winjgaarden-Bakker 1986
KGK VI =Kodjadermen-Gumelnița-Karanovo VI; LBK =Linearbandkeramik; SMP =Square Mouthed Pottery; TRB =Funnel (-neck) beaker culture.
Journal of Field Archaeology 2015 VOL. 0NO. 011
human burials are associated with dog remains or dog
burials are found in settlements or cemeteries
(Davis and Vala 1978;Tchernov and Valla 1997;
´1999;Zvelebil 2008;Morey 2010;Losey
et al. 2011). Similar associations between people and
canids are known also for the Neolithic and Eneolithic
as shown by numerous discoveries in Europe (TABLE 5)
or on other continents (e.g., Shamanka II, Catalhöyük,
Çayönü, Domuztepe, Botai, Krasnyi Yar) (Hill 2000;
Olsen 2000;Morey 2010;Losey et al. 2011;Croucher
2012;Russell 2012). In the case of dog burials, they,
without a doubt, reflect a particular attitude and
respect by the people for their companions, which bene-
fitted from the same burial processes as humans. This
kind of treatment suggests that the role of the dog was
expanded by humans into the perceived world of the
dead (White 1991;Morey 2010). As Darcy F. Morey
(2006: 159) suggested, nothing signifies the social
importance that people have attached to dogs more con-
spicuously than their deliberate interment upon death.
On the other hand, inclusion of dog parts in human
burials can be metaphors for the beliefs of people prob-
ably connected to hunting (Morey 2010). The dismem-
bered remains of dogs may suggest that they were
sacrificed in a ritual, after which they were buried (Byrd
et al. 2013). In other situations, after the sacrifice, dogs
are consumed in honor of the guests, as a symbol of the
importance of their friendship (Snyder 1991). Other
the annual mourning rituals or, according to various eth-
nographic accounts, could have marked different
moments in initiation rituals or special feasts (Byrd
et al. 2013). Nevertheless, these cases demonstrate a
close prehistoric human-animal relationship(Clark
1996a: 34) and the significant role played by dogs in
human lives.
Since the European Mesolithic (e.g., at Lepenski
Vir, Padina and Vlasac) the dog was part of the
human diet as well (Clason 1980;Boric
´et al. 2004;
´2008). In the Neolithic and Eneolithic
there is much evidence of dog consumption
(TABLES 2,5). It should not be forgotten that ritual con-
sumption and/or feasting could reinforce the special
position of dogs (above). Maybe the use of dogs as
food reflects the strengthening of the social relation-
ship between people and dogs inside prehistoric
Related to the dogsordinaryposition (as food) in
relation to humans, is the use of its bones (probably
also skin and fur) to manufacture different objects.
In the Neolithic there are several examples of the use
of dog bones as a raw material source (TABLES 3,5).
This category could include the two mandibles from
Sultana-Malu Ros¸u. However, the use of skeletal
remains for making artifacts is also a symbolic form
of the dogs integration into human society and an
assertion of its special position in relation to people.
Because of the existence of perforations (MD1 =
0.5 mm, MD2 =4 mm), we might presume that the
mandibles were pendants worn around the neck or
waist, so that they functioned as ornaments or
amulets. They might have been parts of costumes.
Even so, they could also have hung in the house or
outside it and had apotropaic properties. The forms
of these artifacts recall their sources because they pre-
serve the anatomical shapes of the jaws and their pro-
cessing/working was minor. So, the visual aspect of
these artifacts was designed to be identifiable to
those who saw them; perforating them meant they
were to be seen. It is evident that the dog mandibles
were designed to be identifiable, exposed, viewed and
admired. Thus, they had a public value, both for the
people wearing or otherwise using them, but also for
those who saw them, being fundamental to the con-
struction and maintenance of personal identity (see
The unique character of these two artifacts made of
the mandibles from two dogs is demonstrated by the
fact that in almost 90 years of archaeological research
at Sultana-Malu Ros¸u (that led to the digging of
approximately 80% of the settlement area) no similar
artifacts have been found. Moreover, in the other
settlements of the Gumelnit
̦a culture there are no
other pendants made of dog mandibles. This demon-
strates that the phenomenon was not general.
MD1 was identified in the foundation trench of H14
and that allows us to interpret this item as resulting
from a foundation ritual/sacrifice (a foundation
deposit), which marked the beginning of the lifecycle
of the building. In this way, construction practices
became crucial social and ritual mechanisms to
manage the complexities of living in large permanent
communities, but also the means to strengthen collec-
tive family identity.
These kinds of ritual practices are also attested in
most prehistoric communities from different parts of
the world, especially in the Balkans (Makkay 1983;
Gallis 1985;Halstead 1995;Bradley 2005;Hodder
2005,2013;Chapman and Gaydarska 2007;Schier
̦escu 2009;Russell 2012;Amkreutz 2013;
Goring-Morris and Belfer-Cohen 2013) and consist
of the sacrificeof items with economical or symbolic
value to ensure the durabilityof something (e.g., build-
ings, ovens, hearths). Another example at Sultana-
Malu Ros¸u, is found in the hearth from House No. 2
(contemporary with the H14), where a gold pendant
was deposited (Andreescu and Laza
˘r 2008). Thus,
based on numerous cases documented in this region
it can be said that such ritual practices were common
in these communities.
̆retalDogs, jaws, and other stories.
Journal of Field Archaeology 2015 VOL. 0NO. 012
MD2 was found in the abandonment level of H14,
which marks the end of the lifecycle of the building.
The presence of this item in this level that marks the
end of that building, is symbolic of intentional
closure.The deposition of MD2 at the end of H14
and MD1 at the beginning demonstrates indubitably
the similarity of sacrificial practices used by the
house inhabitants to highlight two key events.
These sacrificial practices also highlight the exist-
ence of complex behaviors of the people from this pre-
historic community. This praxis was a significant way
to express personal and collective identities through
material culture, and it became a mechanism for
enhancing social interactions and integrating peoples,
animals, buildings and objects. All of this confirms
that house rituals reinforced crucial social and sym-
bolic elements of the community. It also demonstrates
the role of the dogs in the construction and mainten-
ance of distinct historical memories.
Moreover, the fact that the mandibles were heavily
worn, as demonstrated by microscopic analyses,
allows us to assume that the artifacts belonged to
someone before being sacrificed and deposited.
Based on the data recorded in the field, it is clear
that these dog mandibles were not simply thrown
away at the end of their use-lives. This situation is
not an accidental circumstance, but reflects complex
behavior and the deliberate deposition of dog mand-
ibles, at key moments for the inhabitants of the
house/community (FIG.4B).
Why are dog jaw pendants appropriate for foun-
dation and closing deposits here but not elsewhere?
Undoubtedly, this case reflects the particular biography
of the house and its inhabitants, but, perhaps also indi-
cates its exceptional position (or that of its inhabitants)
at Sultana-Malu Ros
̦u. The dog mandibles from
Sultana-Malu Ros¸u can be linked hypothetically to
the rise in megafauna hunting in Gumelnit
̦a commu-
nities (Ba
̦escu et al. 2005a, 2005b;El Susi 2002;
Moise 1999;Brehard and Ba
̦escu 2012). This idea
reminds us of the important role of the dogs in the
hunting of large mammals. However, in the settlements
for which archaeozoological data are available, there is
no distinct pattern linking hunting activities to dogs.
Thus, at the sites for which wild species are present at
a higher rate than domestic animals (FIG.5), the percen-
tage of dogs is still below 5%. Instead, at the sites where
dogs have a higher rate (e.g., at Hârs
̦ova and
̦ani), animal husbandry is the dominant activity.
Also, the faunal data for Sultana-Malu Ros
̦u indicate a
preponderance of domestic species (FIG.5), which
proves that hunting activity had a secondary role. So,
this hypothesis cannot be supported. We also tried to
determine whether there is a link between some econ-
omic activities (hunting and animal husbandry) and
consumption of dogs as food in different Gumelnit
settlements for which archaeozoological data are avail-
able (TABLE 2). Unfortunately, it was impossible to
identify any pattern.
These data do demonstrate the importance of dogs in
Gumelnit¸a communities, however, and their close
relationship with humans. Dogs are in all settlements
as reflected in the archaeological remains. Also, the
dog perfectly reflects what Carl O. Sauer (1969) called
ahousehold animal,being a species that forages
alone within prehistoric settlements and can survive in
small numbers with little human intervention (Russell
2012). The closeness of dogs and people is the result
of their companionship in everyday life, based on
both mutual benefits of cohabitation, and their simi-
larities in diet. Human attitudes towards dogs were
based on their similar experiences but also on the par-
ticular necessities of each community or individual.
In contrast to these generalities, the two items from
Sultana-Malu Ros
̦u can be related only to the lifecycle
of H14 (FIG.4B) and the symbolic role of the dog as its
protector. We cannot say whether people who wore or
otherwise used the jaw pendants were the same as
those who founded the house and deposited them
there. It is difficult to establish a relationship between
those who manufactured the dog pendants, those who
used them, and the inhabitants of H14. It can be
stated with certainty only that dog mandibles had
different meanings and functions, both before and
after deposition. There is a clear intersection between
these artifacts, the craftsmen who made them, the
people who wore or otherwise used them, the inhabi-
tants of H14 and the lifecycle of the house.
The case of two dog artifacts from the site of
Sultana-Malu Ros¸u is a classic example of a synec-
doche(pars pro toto) (Chapman 2000). Each frag-
ment ( jaw bone) was simultaneously an object in its
own right and a symbol of the once complete body
and that fragmentation signifies the attachment to
one of the principal forms of personhood—“fractal
or dividual(Chapman and Gaydarska 2007: 9).
The fragments interpenetrated other objects, humans,
animals and places. The object could evoke the collec-
tive memories of the space where the fragmentation
process of the whole body occurred (Chapman 2000;
Chapman and Gaydarska 2007). In Balkan prehistory
we have numerous examples of synecdoches for almost
all known categories of archaeological discoveries
(e.g., tools, weapons, pots, ornaments, figurines,
food, human and animal bodies, buildings, places)
(Chapman 2000;Chapman and Gaydarska 2007)
that demonstrate a general social practice. In the
case of Sultana-Malu Ros
̦u, the purpose of the two
dog mandible artifacts was, symbolically and function-
ally, closely related to the dogs role as guardian and
protector of the home. Thus, the inhabitants of H14
used these items in the same way that a living dog
Journal of Field Archaeology 2015 VOL. 0NO. 013
would have been used, for spiritual and physical
Manufactured goods from dog mandibles are very
rare in sites of the Gumelnit¸a culture. Only at the
multi-component site of Vita
˘nes¸ti, is there documented
a spatula that was cut out of a mandible and modified
through bifacial abrasion on the articular side which
created a narrow active front. Also, Burial No. 53
from the multi-component site of Rousse (Bulgaria)
has a dog mandible mentioned in the inventory, but it
shows no signs of processing (Chernakov 2010).
Dog mandible use has a long history in the region.
A similar situation is attested in the Iron Gates
Mesolithic at Lepenski Vir (Serbia), where dog mand-
ibles seem to have had a particular significance
because they were placed exclusively in mens tombs,
a fact that made Ivana Radovanovic
´(1999) consider
the practice as representative of a belief system con-
nected probably to hunting. Because Vita
Rousse, and Lepenski Vir are in the Lower Danube
Basin, we should not exclude the possibility of trans-
mission of some Mesolithic hunting traditions over
time and into the Eneolithic period. We should
mention that other Mesolithic traditions, like technol-
ogy (e.g., microliths), were transmitted from gener-
ation to generation. In support of this observation is
the principle of synecdoche confirmed in many
Neolithic and Eneolithic settlements. According to
John Chapman (2000: 223) it was a social practice
deeply rooted in hunter-gatherer traditions which
were maintained well into the farming period.
This paper advances the current knowledge on dogs
and their place in Eneolithic communities from the
Balkans through the two items made of dog mandibles
from Sultana-Malu Ros¸u. These particular artifacts
have the potential to redefine the role of dogs in the
Gumelnit¸a culture and to prove that this species did
not have a single function or meaning. Thus, the dog
was a best friend, an everyday companion, a house-
hold guard, a hunting aide; it controlled the herds,
aided sanitation, and was even the source of raw
materials and food. It also had a symbolic position
within the community, being an active factor in
various social practices and rituals. These various
aspects of dog use by people within the settlements
indicate a certain degree of specialization. The mul-
tiple roles of the dogs assigned by humans enabled a
wide range of dog symbolism in prehistoric commu-
nities (Russell 2012: 293).
The two dog mandibles from Sultana-Malu Ros¸u
are unique in European prehistory. The only known
similar artifacts are the drilled dog mandibles from
the Misigtoq site (Greenland), dating from the late
1600s A.D. to about 1880 A.D.(Morey 2010:
fig. 6.15). Pairs of those modern dog mandibles were
used by children to make play sledges (Morey 2010:
143144). Despite the fact that mandibles from
Greenland are almost identical to those from
Sultana-Malu Ros¸u, they are not the same in terms
of meaning or use. Our technical, functional and
archaeozoological analyses demonstrate that the dog
mandibles from the Sultana-Malu Ros¸u site were
used for other purposes, in any case not as toys.
Beyond the technologically and typologically
unique character of these prehistoric artifacts, they
broaden the repertoire of artifacts made of animal
bones from the Eneolithic period in the Balkans.
They also tell us about the people who manufactured,
used, sacrificed and abandoned them. Moreover, these
objects mark the lifecycles of H14 and the various
people who used that space. Lastly, they reflect the
mechanisms used to construct and transmit specific
historical memories. Thus, these dog mandibles can
be considered as active agents of social structures,
mentalities, ideologies, ideas, beliefs, and the organiz-
ing principles of the peoples who used them. They
inform us about different types of identities: individual
(persons to whom they belonged); familiar (the inhabi-
tants of that house); and collective (local community),
and illustrate the shared experiences of dogs and
humans. Furthermore, these unique artifacts represent
a starting point for new discussions about the ancestral
relationship between people and dogs.
The authors thank Ciprian Astalos
̦for improving the
English translation of this paper and Florian Mihail
who has offered us the unpublished data about the
hard animal material industry from the Carcaliu,
̦a and Taraschina sites. The manuscript bene-
fitted from the valuable comments of three anon-
ymous reviewers. This work was supported by two
grants from the Romanian National Authority for
Scientific Research, CNCSUEFISCDI, project
numbers PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-1015 and PN-II-RU-
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... It is delimited from the rest of the terrace by deep valleys in the south-east and north-west; from south-west, an alveolus creates a link and a passageway to the main terrace. A large part of the settlement was destroyed by erosion, and currently only a part of the 1544 m 2 area is preserved (Lazăr et al., 2016;Lazăr et al., 2018). ...
... 4600-3950 cal. B.C.), part of the larger Eneolithic Kodjadermen-Gumelnița-Karanovo (KGK) VI group that covers most of the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsulanamely nowadays Romania, the southern part of Moldova and Ukraine, the eastern half of Bulgaria, extending south to the Aegean Sea (Lazăr et al., 2016). The AMS radiocarbon dates available for Sultana-Malu Roșu tell settlement (n=10) span from 4539 to 3961 cal. ...
... The AMS radiocarbon dates available for Sultana-Malu Roșu tell settlement (n=10) span from 4539 to 3961 cal. B.C. (95.4% probability) (Golea et al., 2014;Lazăr et al., 2016;Lazăr et al., 2018). In terms of relative chronology, this means that the tell settlement was inhabited during the A1, A2 and B1 phases of the Gumelniţa culture, confirming the previous stratigraphic observations (Andreescu & Lazăr, 2008;Lazăr et al., 2016). ...
Local production or import? This question always raises vivid debates among the archaeologists when they analyse pots and ceramic fragments regardless of the studied period. In the case of pottery from the Eneolithic tell settlement of Sultana-Malu Roşu from South-East Romania, we tried to address this issue through a series of physico-chemical investigations. To reach this goal, we analyzed several shards from two dwellings, as well as clay samples collected from some local deposits from nearby the tell settlement. Petrographic analyses on thin sections and X-ray fluorescence coupled with X-ray diffraction analyses were performed to get mineralogical and chemical information about the archaeological ceramic and local clay samples. One of the aims of this investigation was to explore the connection between Sultana-Malu Roşu pottery and the nearby clay sources, but also to check the local origin of the analyzed pottery. The physico-chemical analyses helped us to identify the procedures and recipes employed by the prehistoric potters, and those data were used in our experimental archaeology approaches when we tried to replicate the prehistoric vessels. The investigation of prehistoric vessels was complemented by imaging analyses using radiography and X-ray computed tomography, in a trial of getting a clearer picture of the chaîne opératoire involved in pottery production process. Moreover, creating experimental replicas, we recorded how pots behave at all stages of manufacturing from modelling to firing. Alongside with the development of a reference database for Gumelnița pottery, an important achievement of this research was that we proved that the vessels from Sultana-Malu Roşu site were made using local clays. Production locale ou importation ? Cette question suscite toujours de vifs débats parmi les archéologues. Dans le cas de la poterie provenant du tell énéolithique de Sultana-Malu Roşu situé dans le sud-est de la Roumanie, nous avons essayé d’aborder cette question par une série d’investigations physico-chimiques. Pour atteindre cet objectif, nous avons analysé plusieurs tessons provenant de deux logements, ainsi que des échantillons d’argile à proximité de l’habitat. On a réalisé des analyses pétrographiques sur des lames minces et des analyses de fluorescence des rayons X et de diffraction des rayons X afin d’obtenir des informations minéralogiques et chimiques sur les échantillons de céramique et d’argile. L’un des buts de cette étude a été d’explorer la relation entre la poterie de Sultana-Malu Roşu et les sources d’argile des environs, afin de vérifier l’origine locale de la poterie analysée. Les analyses physico-chimiques nous ont aidés à identifier les procédures et les recettes utilisées par les artisans antiques. Les résultats ont été utilisés dans nos ateliers d’archéologie expérimentale lorsque nous avons essayé de répliquer la vaisselle préhistorique. L’investigation de la vaisselle préhistorique a été complétée par des analyses d’imagerie en utilisant la radiographie et la tomographie aux rayons X par ordinateur, dans un effort de se former une image plus claire sur la chaîne opératoire employée dans la fabrication de la poterie. Par la création des réplicas modernes nous avons enregistré la manière dont la poterie se comporte à travers toutes les étapes de fabrication, à partir du modelage jusqu’à la cuisson. À côté du développement d’une base de données de référence pour la poterie de Gumelnița, une importante réussite de cette recherche a été d’avoir prouvé que la vaisselle de Sultana-Malu Roşu était fabriquée en utilisant les argiles locales.
... Credem că aceasta a fost remaniată la nivel de preistorie. Tabel 1. Date 14 C ale complexelor de locuire descoperite pe tell-ul de la Sultana-Malu Roșu (după Lazăr et al. 2016). ...
... Datele radiocarbon obținute pentru această locuință (vezi Tab. 1), excluzând datarea pe cărbune (aceasta reflectând vârsta lemnului utilizat ca par), ne indică un interval cuprins între 4230-3973 cal.BC Lazăr et al. 2016). ...
... Caracteristicile morfo-tipologice ale materialul ceramic, dar și datele radiocarbon 4546-4365 cal.BC Lazăr et al. 2016) indică faptul că locuința nr. 5 aparține fazei A2 a culturii Gumelnița (Ignat et al. 2012: 103). ...
... The old assumptions regarding their religious or mythological meanings (e.g., cult items, representations of divinities, Mother-Goddesses, etc.) are no longer in use, as proved by critical approaches postulated over time (e.g., Meskell 1995;Biehl 2006;Bailey 2013;. for more than 500 years by the Kodjadermen-Gumelnita-Karanovo VI (KGK VI) communities in the second half of the 5 th millennium BC (Lazar et al. 2016). ...
... However, from a typological point of view, it fits well in the humanized pottery series characteristic of KGK VI communities (Voinea 2005). The absence of any data regarding the stratigraphic context made impossible its assignment to a specific phase (e.g., A1, A2, or B1) of that civilization, but based on available radiocarbon data, we could set the possible timeframe between 4546-3973 cal BC (2σ calibrated) (Lazar et al. 2016;. ...
Full-text available
The current paper aims to reveal the potential of combining multiple approaches (techno-functional analysis, experimental archaeology, and X-ray Computed Tomography) when it comes to studying unique earthenware artefacts, such as the prehistoric human-shaped pot discovered within the tell settlement from Sultana-Malu Rosu (Romania), that belongs to the Kodjadermen-Gumelnita-Karanovo VI civilization (KGK VI) which thrived during the 5th millennium BC. This human-shaped pot, also known as ‘The Goddess of Sultana’, is an emblematic artefact that fascinates with its shape, gestures, and decoration. It was apparently made from a standard clay paste recipe and using basic forming techniques, with little care for the internal surface. This vessel also has several hidden cracks and some manipulation traces on its backside. In order to explore its relevance, our approach to this particular human-shaped pot included the use of archaeological data in correlation with other techniques in order to decipher the manufacturing process for such vessels, the possible way of using them, but also the meanings that they might have had for past human communities.
... The items from Gumelniţa and Măgura-Jilava lack detailed archaeological context, as they were excavated decades ago and they suffered poor post-excavation management [7][8][9][10][11]. Detailed contextual data are available only for the most recent excavations from the Sultana (the tell settlement from Malu Rosu point) [12]. The pieces included in this study are curated by three museums from Romania (Municipality Bucharest Museum, Lower Danube Museum in Calaraşi, and Gumelniţa Civilization Museum in Olteniţa). ...
... As opposed to Sultana, the typological spectrum from Gumelniţa site is dominated by two shapes only: pyramidal (12) and ovoid (9) (Tables 1, 2, Additional file 5: Table S3, Additional file 6: Table S4). For 14 items, the surface treatment was done by smoothing, the other seven specimens having polished surfaces. ...
Full-text available
In this paper we analyzed a batch of 64 clay weights from three archaeological sites located in Romania (Gumelniţa, Măgura-Jilava, and Sultana) that belong to Kodjadermen-Gumelniţa-Karanovo VI cultural complex (4600-3900 cal. BC). Our approach includes an interdisciplinary investigation based on technological analysis, experimental archaeology , and X-ray CT scans coupled with statistical analysis. This investigation has a high potential to reveal relevant information regarding the technological background (e.g., inclusion, voids, temper, etc.), manufacturing stages (e.g., modeling, shaping, kneading, etc.), or transformation processes (e.g., drying and firing vs. weight and size modification) in order to identify, explain and understand the chaîne operatoire for this type of artefacts. Moreover, correlation of the results with the experimental archaeology could offer an integrative interpretation about the material culture of past humans and its multiple meanings, but also critical information about the multiple dimensions of manufacture for these objects (e.g., time, effort, physical-chemical processes, etc.). The multi-analytical approach proposed here also includes a comparative study of technological aspects of these clay weights across the three archaeological sites investigated, as well as the experimental replicas.
... Morphological characteristics reconstructed from canid remains can be used to evaluate the roles these animals were adapted to within human societies. Dogs are believed to have been utilized in hunting as Fig. 3. Body mass of dogs following methods outlined in Losey et al. (2015Losey et al. ( , 2017 from the study region and other archaeological sites in the Balkans organized by time period (Bartosiewicz 2002;Bartosiewicz, 2009;Dimitrijević and Vuković 2012;Gaastra et al. 2014;Mihelić et al. 2013;Miracle and Pugsley, 2006;Lazȃr et al. 2016Schwartz 1988Vuković-Bogdanović and Jovičić 2012). Comparative data on modern wolves from the Balkans were provided by Duško Ć irović and reflect populations in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. ...
Full-text available
Since their domestication, dogs have adapted to a diverse portfolio of roles within human societies, and changes in dog size, shape, and behavior are often key indicators of these changes. Among pastoral and agropastoral societies dogs are almost ubiquitous as livestock guardians and herding aids. Archaeological data demonstrate that incoming Neolithic farmers brought with them their own morphologically distinct dogs when they spread into Europe, and that these dogs became larger in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Using archaeological data from the eastern Adriatic region we suggest that changes in the morphology and treatment of dog remains by these societies reflect, in part, the significance of dogs in livestock management including guarding herds kept at distances from villages. Bronze and Iron Age increases in body size, in particular, may track the increasing importance of seasonal transhumance.
... También hemos sostenido que la presencia de estos objetos, así como la inclusión de cráneos de carnívoros en algunos contextos mortuorios podría estar vinculada con prácticas sociales y/o simbólicas (Acosta et al., 2015a(Acosta et al., , 2015bAcosta & Mazza, 2016). Dentro de una línea similar y como hallazgo excepcional deben mencionarse las dos mandíbulas perforadas de C. l. familiaris, aparentemente Figura 6. Agrupamiento por conglomerados (método Ward) de C. l. familiaris, L. griseus y C. thous para los valores en mm de M1 y M3. utilizadas como adornos personales, descubiertas en un sitio neolítico de Rumania ubicado en el norte de los Balcanes, hallazgo que también ha sido relacionado con la potencial valoración social y simbólica que habrían tenido lo perros para estas sociedades (ver discusión en Lazăr et al., 2015). Las actividades y rasgos materiales mencionados dan cuenta de ciertas particularidades que surgen de la interacción que existió y existe entre los humanos y los perros en particular y con otros animales en general (Mitchell, 2008;Morey, 2010;Choyke, 2010;Russell, 2012). ...
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Resumen En este trabajo se presenta un nuevo registro de perro prehispánico recuperado en el sitio arqueológico Cerro Lutz, ubicado en el humedal del Paraná inferior. El material asignado a Canis lupus familiaris corresponde a un fémur proximal que presenta huellas de aserrado perimetral, lo cual indica que el espécimen fue utilizado con fines tecnológicos. La determinación específica del fémur se realizó sobre la base de un estudio morfométrico, en donde se incluyeron, con fines comparativos, fémures de otros dos individuos precolombinos de C. l. familiaris, como así también de los cánidos silvestres de la región (Cerdocyon thous, Dusicyon avus y Licalopex griseus). Los resultados obtenidos indican que el fémur corresponde a un individuo de talla mediana de similares características al primer ejemplar hallado en Cerro Lutz y al recuperado en el sitio CH2D01-II en Uruguay. En terminos tecnológicos constituye un elemento descartado durante el proceso de elaboracíon de un artefacto, probablemente una punta ahuecada. Para el aréa de estudio, este es el primer registro que existe sobre la utilización de un hueso de un perro precolombino como materia prima.
... 93 e.g., Brăiliţa, Căscioarele, Gumelniţa, Hârşova and Vidra. 94 As shown by the 14C date of 5140 ± 35 BP (4039-3804 cal BC) (Poz-52551)(Lazăr et al. 2018); 5230 ± 50 BP (4174-3961 cal BC) (Poz-52542); and 5250 ± 40 BP (4230-3973 cal BC) (Poz-52550)(Lazăr et al. 2016). ...
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The tell settlement from “Măgura Gumelnița” is the eponymous site of the Eneolithic civilization with the same name. It is probably the most significant tell settlement north of the Danube, and it belonged to the Kodjadermen ‐ Gumelnița ‐ Karanovo VI cultural complex that occupied the Balkan area in the second half of 5th millennium BC. During 2018 and 2019, the research of the Gumelnița site continued, the present study presenting the preliminary interdisciplinary results obtained in the respective archaeological seasons.
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The archaeozoological study carried out in Satu Nou-Valea lui Voicu (Oltina, Constanța County) provides new information on the relationship between humans and dogs in the early period of the Iron Age. Thus, numerous bones from several dogs (Canis familiaris) were identified in the feature called "ditch or gully" and in a pit (Pit 41). The authors of the research attributed this context, stratigraphically considered the oldest, to the Babadag culture (10 th-9 th centuries BC). The studied group includes the complete and partial skeletons of 14 individuals (12 identified in the ditch and two in Pit 41), unearthed in the 1991-1992 seasons. Some dogs (at least four individuals) were slaughtered by blows to the skull and / or were eaten (at least five individuals) as evidenced by the disarticulation and defleshing cut marks identified on the bones. Given the special archaeological situation at Satu Nou, the phenomenon of cynophagy must be viewed in a ritual and funerary context. Of the 14 dogs, two are certainly males, two are possibly males and four are possibly females. The animals were predominantly slaughtered at a young age: nine are subadults (between 8 and 18 months) and five are adults. The average withers height of these animals is 50.2 cm (n = 5; limits 46-55.6 cm) after Koudelka and 51 cm (n = 5; limits 47.4-56.8 cm) after Harcourt; the gracility index average is 7.4 (n = 5; limits 6.6-8.3). These figures describe medium-sized and above-average dogs of medium robustness. It is very interesting that nine of these individuals have extremely varied pathologies affecting various anatomical parts, from the skull to the phalanges. Most of these pathologies healed in the individuals' lifetime, but they illustrate that these animals have gone through various accidents or traumas, some of them at relatively young ages. In general, the dog had a wide range of attributes: psychopomp creature, companion of the warrior and hunter, and also guardian of the home, with a therapeutic and purifying role. In our case the dog was sacrificed (sometimes violently), deposed as an offering and sometimes probably ritually consumed. It should not be omitted that in the same ditch from Valea lui Voicu were identified human bones (from 26 individuals), pottery, but also numerous animals remains that could have been part of the funerary banquets that probably took place in this area. The association of all these archaeological, anthropological and archaeozoological materials may suggest the existence of dog sacrifices at the funerals of the deceased (as their companions) and the deposition of a part of the animal near the body, while the rest of the animal was consumed during the funerary ceremony.
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Rezumat: Studiul arheozoologic al faunei de mamifere din nivelul Boian Spanțov descoperit în secțiunea C a tell-ului de la Hârșova ne relevă că această populație preistorică se ocupa cu creșterea animalelor, în special a bovinelor și a ovicaprinelor. Vârstele de sacrificare în cazul bovinelor ilustrează o exploatare mixtă (atât pentru carne, cât și pentru producția de lapte), în timp ce ovicaprinele erau crescute mai ales pentru producția de lapte. Porcul este exploatat prin excelență pentru carne și grăsime, iar studiul vârstelor de abataj ne arată consumul unei cărni de foarte bună calitate dat fiind că cele mai multe animale au sub 12 luni, ele neatingând încă maximul ponderal. Câinele are și o funcție alimentară, pe lângă cea de paznic al turmelor, locuințelor și companion al omului, dar importanța sa în cadrul paleoeconomiei animaliere nu este atât de mare având în vedere talia sa modestă. Vânătoarea avea un rol secundar de suplimentare a cantității de carne, dar și de îndepărtare a acțiunii prădătoare a unor animale sălbatice. Se vânau în special mistrețul și cerbul. O comparație cu alte situri Boian Spanțov care au beneficiat de studii arheozoologice (Căscioarele, Izvoarele, Lăceni-Măgura, Radovanu, Tangâru) ne arată că o trăsătură comună a acestora o reprezintă activitatea de creștere a bovinelor. Locul secund este disputat între ovicaprine și porcine care se găsesc la mare distanță de bovine. Vânătoarea are o importanță redusă, locul întâi fiind ocupat de cerb în majoritatea așezărilor, mai puțin la Hârșova-tell unde se observă că mistrețul are o pondere relativ crescută. Résumé: Exploitation de mammifères du niveau Boian SpanȚov de Hârșova tell (section C) L'étude archéozoologique de la faune mammifère (mammalienne) du niveau Boian Spanțov fouillé dans la section C du tell de Hârșova montre que cette population préhistorique pratiquait l'élevage, en particulier de bovins et de caprinés. Les âges d'abattage des bovins illustrent une exploitation mixte (tant pour la production de viande que du lait), tandis que les caprinés étaient principalement exploités pour la production de lait. Les porcins sont élevés essentiellement pour la viande et la graisse, et l'étude des âges d'abattage montre la consommation d'une viande de très bonne qualité, puisque la plupart des animaux sont âgés de moins de 12 mois, n'atteignant pas encore leur poids maximum. Le chien a également une fonction alimentaire, outre sa fonction de gardien de troupeaux et des maisons, animal de compagnie de l'homme. Son importance dans la paléo-diète n'est toutefois pas importante compte tenu de sa taille modeste. La chasse avait un rôle secondaire en accroissant la quantité de viande, mais également en supprimant l'action prédatrice de certains animaux sauvages, en particulier le sanglier et le cerf. Une comparaison avec d'autres ensembles archéozoologiques contemporains de la culture Boian Spanțov (Căscioarele, Izvoarele, Lăceni-Măgura, Radovanu, Tangâru) montre une tendance comparable avec le tell de Hârșova, comme l'élevage de bovins, alors que les caprinés et les porcins sont relégués à la seconde place. La chasse est d'une importance mineure, avec au premier rang le cerf dans la plupart des établissements. La chasse au sanglier semble être une spécificité du tell de Hârșova.
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In parallel with the more practical aspects of the human-animal relationship revolving around subsistence or draught power, people have always endowed the creatures surrounding them with various human characteristics. For most of the pre- and proto-history of continental Europe there are few written sources to tell us details about the way different peoples thought about the animals in their world, the stories they told about them. Amulets and ornaments from cemeteries and settlements made from skeletal elements have the potential to illuminate which animals were considered significant or special. Individual bones were thus transformed in the minds of their users into the whole animal with all its special attributes and cultural associations. One universal running through these bones is the overwhelming use of head and foot bones to represent the essence of the animal. Teeth of red deer, dog, wolf, bear, boar and lion are of particular significance in this regard. Various bones from the foot, in particular the astragali or the metapodia of hare and dog reflect the way animals moved. The paper will include a review of the various kinds of amulets and ornaments found in the Central European area, looking for common threads. A burial from a late sixth-century AD Hunnish context will be examined in detail. The archaeological data will be compared to the way the ‘power of animals’ has been harnessed as part of risk reducing, magic strategies in various parts of the world to create a model of how this may have worked in the past. The parallel use of mental constructs of animals in representing various social identities will also be explored.
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Animal burials are often encountered in excavations in southwestern North America. This paper identifies and contextually analyzes bird and mammal remains recovered from interment contexts in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. These data are presented in tabular form, followed by a contextual evaluation of patterns of interment. Three forms of interment are identified: 1) ceremonial trash, 2) dedicatory offerings, and 3) simple interment, including expedient disposal. While bird interments take the form of sacrifice followed by disposal as ceremonial trash, dogs are generally interred on the floors of pithouses or kivas as dedicatory offerings. Bird interments clustered around the period from A.D. 1050 to 1400; dog interments had substantially greater time depth. This contextual analysis demonstrates that patterning in animal interments can be recognized on a regional scale; similar analyses may be usefully applied to faunal data in other regions of the Americas in order to reconstruct the complex social and ritual relationships that humans maintained with animals prehistorically. RESUMEN Enterramientos animales se encuentran a menudo en excavacions realizadas en el sudoeste de América del norte. Este artículo identifica y analiza contextualmente los restos de pájaros y mamíferos recuperados en medios funerarios en el norte de México y en el sudoeste de los Estados Unidos. Estos datos se presentan en la forma tabular, seguida de una evaluación del contexto de patrones de enterramiento. Pueden identificarse tres formas de enterramiento 1) desecho ceremonial, 2) enterramiento dedicatoria, e 3) enterramiento simple, incluido el desecho conveniente. Si bien los enterramientos de pájaros toman la forma de sacrificio, seguida por el desecho ceremonial, los perros se entierran generalmente en los suelos de casas semisubterráneas o de kivas como ofrendas de dedicación. Los enterramientos de pájaros se acumulan alrededor del período D.C. 1050 a 1400; los de perros muestran un tiempo-profundidad considerablemente mayor. Este análisis del contexto demuestra que patrones en los enterramientos animales se puede identificar en una escala regional; análisis similares se pueden aplicar provechosamente a los datos de fauna en otras regiones de las Américas para reconstruir las complejas relaciones sociales y rituales que el ser humano mantuvo con los animales en la prehistoria.