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New animals, new landscapes and new worldviews: the Iron Age to Roman transition at Fishbourne

Allen, M. and Sykes, N. (2011) New animals, new landscapes and new worldviews: the Iron Age to Roman transition at Fishbourne. Sussex Archaeological Collections, 149. pp. 7-24.

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To link to this item DOI: 10.5284/1000334


Anthropologists and cultural geographers have long accepted that animals play an important role in the creation of human cultures. However, such beliefs are yet to be embraced by archaeologists, who seldom give zooarchaeological data much consideration beyond the occasional economic or environmental reconstruction. In an attempt to highlight animal remains as a source of cultural information, this paper examines the evidence for the changing relationship between people and wild animals in Iron Age and Roman southern England. Special attention is given to ‘exotic’ species — in particular fallow deer, domestic fowl and the hare — whose management increased around AD 43. In Iron Age Britain the concept of wild game reserves was seemingly absent, but the post-Conquest appearance of new landscape features such as vivaria, leporaria and piscinae indicates a change in worldview from a situation where people seemingly negotiated with the ‘wilderness’ and ‘wild things’ to one where people felt they had the right or the responsibility to bring them to order. Using Fishbourne Roman Palace as a case study, we argue that wild and exotic animals represented far more than gastronomic treats or symbols of Roman identity, instead influencing the way in which people engaged with, traversed and experienced their surroundings.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:38064
Publisher:Sussex Archaeological Society

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