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The Chora of Metaponto 2

Sándor Bökönyi
Erika Gál
Edited by László Bartosiewicz
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    The Chora of Metaponto 2
    Book Description:

    From 1974 to the present, the Institute of Classical Archaeology at the University of Texas at Austin has carried out archaeological excavations in the ancient territory (chora) of Metaponto, now located in the modern province of Basilicata on the southern coast of Italy. This wide-ranging investigation, which covers a number of sites and a time period ranging from prehistory to the Roman Empire, has unearthed a wealth of new information about the ancient rural economy in southern Italy. These discoveries will be published in a multi-volume series titledThe Chora of Metaponto. This volume on archaeozoology-the study of animal remains from archaeological sites-is the second in the series, followingThe Chora of Metaponto: The Necropoleis(1998).

    Archaeozoology at Pantanello and Five Other Sitesdescribes the animal remains found throughout Metaponto and discusses what they reveal about ancient practices of hunting and herding, domestication and importation of new breeds, people's attitudes toward animals, and what animal remains indicate about past environments. A chapter devoted to bird bones, which are a relatively rare find because of their fragility, provides high quality information on the environment and methods of fowling, as well as on the beliefs and symbolism associated with birds. The final chapter covers tools-some simple, others sophisticated and richly decorated-made from animal bones.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79520-4
    Subjects: Archaeology, Zoology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
    Joseph Coleman Carter
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xxii)
    Joseph Coleman Carter and László Bartosiewicz

    This volume of archaeozoological studies marks the renewal of a major program to document more than thirty years of research in the chora of Metaponto (Fig. I). Bringing this book to print has been made possible by the generous ongoing support of the Packard Humanities Institute. This study and those to follow are the first serious attempts to deal with the ancient rural economy in the context of Classical Archaeology in South Italy. Despite the tradition of such research by prehistorians, faunal reports even from prehistoric sites have not been standard in this geographical area. With this publication, the Institute...

  5. 1 Animal Husbandry from the Late Neolithic through the Roman Period
    (pp. 1-34)
    Sándor Bökönyi

    The study of ancient domestic and wild animals through their remains is essential for understanding the development of animal husbandry and hunting as human occupations in a locale. The remains reveal an important sector of the local economy: the acquisition of animal protein and fat, as well as hides, horns, antlers, sinews, and other raw materials of animal origin. When animal bone assemblages span a large chronological sequence, they can provide exceptional insight into the dynamics of cultural development.

    Metaponto and its environs represent an ideal subject for such studies. First, the area consists of a uniform geographical unit, where...

  6. 2 Animal Husbandry in Roman Metaponto
    (pp. 35-40)
    Sándor Bökönyi

    In 1975–1981, a very large midden, known as the Kiln Deposit, was excavated at Pantanello. Associated with a Roman period tile factory, the deposit produced a huge quantity of ceramic objects (Fig. 2.1–2), along with coins that date the entire assemblage in successive stages from the Roman Republic period (2ndcentury bc) to the Early Empire (1stcentury ad).

    Scattered throughout the deposit was a considerable quantity of animal bone, much of it in a sufficiently good state of preservation for analysis. The deposit’s animal remains represent a typical bone sample from a settlement; they are mainly kitchen...

  7. 3 Taphonomic Analysis of Bone Remains from the Chora of Metaponto
    (pp. 41-60)
    Erika Gál

    When Sándor Bökönyi initially studied the Metaponto materials, he concentrated primarily on the historical and faunistical importance of the assemblages. At that time, computer-based analyses were not yet common in Hungary. After Dr. Bökönyi’s data had been entered into spreadsheets and were furthered examined, the idea of writing a complementary study on the taphonomic characteristics of the assemblages was formulated. The goal was to seek out the physical processes—natural and effected by humans—that followed the death of the animals, and in doing so, arrive at a new understanding of the remains.

    This chapter is the outcome of two...

  8. 4 Bird Remains from the Chora of Metaponto
    (pp. 61-70)
    Erika Gál

    The impressive archaeozoological assemblage from the Metaponto chora yielded approximately 12,000 remains. Of the 7,000 bones which could be identified, 61 were determined to be avian. The majority of bird remains (27 bones, equal to 4.7% of the total bone assemblage) came from San Biagio, a villa inhabited during the late 3rd–4thcentury ad. The other sites yielded only 1 to 15 remains each (Table 4.1).

    There may be several reasons for the under-representation of bird remains in these hand-collected assemblages. First, the economic value of birds, especially in prehistoric societies when only wild birds were available, is negligible...

  9. 5 Bone Artifacts from the Chora of Metaponto
    (pp. 71-86)
    Erika Gál

    In addition to the large assemblage of food remains, the sites in the Metaponto chora yielded a number of artifacts and tools made from various animal skeletal parts. Study of these objects may reveal the exploitation of raw material resources, the typology, the manufacturing techniques, and the continuum in each period. Interpretation is equally important, because the various bone tools reflect hidden details of everyday life, from agricultural activity through gambling to sophisticated furniture design. Zoological evaluation as an integral part of multidisciplinary analysis may thus shed light on the technological development and sometimes subtle meaning of these objects.


  10. Appendix: Bone Measurements
    (pp. 87-110)
  11. References
    (pp. 111-118)
  12. Index
    (pp. 119-122)