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Beyond Food: Placing Animals in the Framework of Social Change in Post-Roman England

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Abstract

Zooarchaeological evidence is combined with anthropological, artistic and historical sources to investigate the role of human-animal interactions during periods of social change in post-Roman England. Data from nearly 500 assemblages covering 1500 years in southern England provide a unique basis to investigate the use of non-livestock animals in diverse areas from cosmology to commodities, companions to status. Results showcase the potential for integrated studies to provide insights into the changing perceptions of animals from creatures that play a role in the afterlife, to those that are earthbound and soulless, to express status and power, to reveal a demand for spectacle and education and to reflect contrasting functions of economy alongside an increasing sentimentality for pets.

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... The first was the view, spread through Christian scripture, that animals were created to serve humans, the absence of an animal soul meaning that people were not obliged to feel remorse for their suffering, thereby providing a means of exploiting animals while remaining impassive [95] (p. 22), [96] (p. 203). ...
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