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Over the horizon: human-animal relations in Bronze Age Crete

Shapland, A.J.; (2009) Over the horizon: human-animal relations in Bronze Age Crete. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

The iconography of Bronze Age Crete has long been noted for the abundance of animal imagery. The excavator of Knossos, Sir Arthur Evans, explained these depictions in terms of ‘nature-loving Minoans’: as part of the reassessment of long-held concepts in ‘Minoan’ archaeology this thesis offers a different framework for considering animals in Bronze Age Cretan material culture. Drawing on the interdisciplinary field of ‘animal studies’ it provides a perspective which foregrounds human-animal relationships, rather than the prevailing onesided view in which humans impose meanings on animals. The affordance concept, in which meanings arise from interaction, offers a balanced way to consider the relations between humans, animals and material culture. Sealstones, frescoes, zoomorphic figures, ceramic decoration, animal bones and written documents are all regarded as material traces of human-animal relations, each medium potentially implicated in different types of human-animal relationships or ‘animal practices’. Iconographic and statistical analysis are used to establish the potential significance of these traces: different types of animals are depicted in different ways and occur in varying frequencies in each medium. This demonstrates that they were used actively to convey information about animals rather than reflecting a passive interest in the natural world. The implications of this approach for an understanding of Bronze Age Cretan society are considered.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Over the horizon: human-animal relations in Bronze Age Crete
Language:English
Additional information:Authorisation for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology

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