Sheep and Socio-Economic Growth in Europe

Thursday, April 27, 2017

5:00 pm

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Archaeology Center

Although sheep are only one of the important domesticates exploited in many parts of the world, it has played a near-paradigmatic role throughout the emergence and spread of European civilization. Domestic sheep and goat unambiguously originate from Southwest Asia where their wild ancestors live. Therefore sheep distributions across Europe represent an element of evident diffusion in the otherwise complex neolithization process. The numerical increase in sheep remains can be spectacular at Early Neolithic sites in Central Europe, even in habitats less than favorable for sheep. In various instances mutton outcompeted locally available pork in the diet as shown by animal remains from archaeological sites across Eurasia. Reasons for this trend seem to be diverse, ranging from greater pastoral mobility through secondary products (wool and dairy) to side effects of religious regulations such as the Iron Age taboo imposed on pork first documented in Judaism. Concomitant strict regulations concerning the “proper” way of slaughtering livestock link the increased dietary importance of sheep to the emergence of metallurgy, i.e. availability of quality blades.

Thursday, April 27, 2017
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Archaeology Center Map

Open to the public.


Lecture / Reading International Humanities Science 

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