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Animals in Ritual and Economy in a Roman Frontier Community

Animals in Ritual and Economy in a Roman Frontier Community: Excavations in Tiel-Passewaaij

Maaike Groot
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Animals in Ritual and Economy in a Roman Frontier Community
    Book Description:

    This new volume in the acclaimed Amsterdam Archaeological Studies series explores the roles of animals in a rural community in the civitas Batavorum in the 1st to 3rd centuries ad. Large-scale excavations of two settlements and a cremation cemetery in Tiel-Passewaaij have yielded an animal bone assemblage of around 30,000 fragments. The study compares data from both the settlements and the cemetery, assessing the role of livestock in the local economy and the production of surplus products for the Roman market. The author also investigates the use of animals in funerary and other rituals. The inclusion of a catalogue of special animal deposits makes it a valuable reference work for animal bone specialists.Amsterdam Archaeological Studies is a series devoted to the study of past human societies from the prehistory up into modern times, primarily based on the study of archaeological remains. The series will include excavation reports of modern fieldwork; studies of categories of material culture; and synthesising studies with broader images of past societies, thereby contributing to the theoretical and methodological debates in archaeology.This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0232-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-X)
    (pp. XI-XII)
  4. 1. Introduction
    (pp. 1-32)

    In this study, the animal bone assemblage from excavations in Tiel-Passewaaij is used to explore the various roles of animals in a rural community in the Eastern Dutch River Area during the Roman period. The focus will be on the roles of animals in economy and ritual. This study will focus on just one rural community, consisting of two settlements and the cemetery in which the inhabitants buried their dead.

    One of the strengths of the data set is that Tiel-Passewaaij provides information from different contexts for one community, instead of comparing results from different communities. The focus on different...

  5. 2. Animals and the economy of a rural community
    (pp. 33-96)

    In archaeological literature, much emphasis has been placed on the martial aspects of Batavian communities.¹ However, a typical Batavian settlement was basically a farming community. In a small rural community such as Tiel-Passewaaij, farming was the economic base. The year was punctuated by the different tasks that had to be performed at the right time. For animal husbandry, these tasks included controlling the mating of animals, tending to animals during the birthing season, winter feeding, shearing of sheep, milking, moving animals between different grazing grounds, and training animals to perform various tasks. For agriculture, the most important tasks were ploughing,...

  6. 3. Animals and ritual within a rural settlement
    (pp. 97-158)

    During the excavation of the settlement Passewaaijse Hogeweg, numerous cases were found of animal bone deposits that struck the excavators as ‘odd’ in some way. This ‘oddness’ was felt intuitively at first, but was actually based on completeness of the bones, concentration of several bones, or association with other, non-bone finds. In short, the animal bones in the deposits deviated from what was considered ‘normal’ bone refuse. For many of these animal bone deposits, the author was called on site to inspect the animal bones and record any information. A protocol was developed for excavating and recording these animal bone...

  7. 4. Animals in funerary ritual
    (pp. 159-188)

    The cremation cemetery in Tiel-Passewaaij originally consisted of about 490 graves (although many graves have been lost) and covered 5 hectares. A total of 343 graves has actually been excavated.¹ This makes it one of the largest Roman cemeteries in the Netherlands. The earliest graves date to around AD 60, and the latest to around AD 270.

    There are several factors that ensure that this cemetery site has unique research opportunities. First, there is the excellent preservation. Preservation was generally very good but varied within the cemetery. There was a difference in height of up to one metre between the...

  8. 5. Conclusion and suggestions for further research
    (pp. 189-198)

    Animal bone studies for rural settlements in the Eastern Dutch River Area have been published before, but most are of small samples, often from settlements with just one or two phases (or even worse, from sites that could not be dated accurately), or from sites where only a small section of the settlement was excavated.¹ Tiel-Passewaaij is one of the very few sites where most of a rural settlement was excavated. Furthermore, habitation in Tiel-Passewaaij covered the entire Roman period, and could be divided into a chronology that makes it possible to study changes in animal husbandry during the Roman...

    (pp. 199-210)
  10. Appendix A. Zooarchaeological data from Passewaaijse Hogeweg and Oude Tielseweg
    (pp. 211-250)
  11. Appendix B. Catalogue of special animal deposits from Passewaaijse Hogeweg
    (pp. 251-272)