The zooarchaeology of medieval Christendom: ideology, the treatment of animals and the making of medieval Europe
Pluskowski, A. (2010) The zooarchaeology of medieval Christendom: ideology, the treatment of animals and the making of medieval Europe. World Archaeology, 42 (2). pp. 201-214. ISSN 0043-8243
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/00438241003672815
The formation of Christendom – of Europe – was associated with a standardized worldview expressing dominion over the natural world. While some sections of medieval society, specifically monasteries and the aristocratic class, appear to have developed this paradigm, there is also evidence for heterogeneity in practice and belief. Zooarchaeologists have accumulated vast quantities of data from medieval contexts which has enabled the ecological signatures of specific social groups to be identified, and how these developed from the latter centuries of the first millennium ad. It is possible from this to consider whether trends in animal exploitation can be associated with the Christian world view of dominion, and with the very idea of what it meant to be Christian. This may enable zooarchaeologists to situate the ecological trends of the Middle Ages within the context of Europeanization, and the consolidation of a Christian society.
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