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Title: Birds, beasts and burials : a study of the human-animal relationship in Romano-British St. Albans
Author: Hill, Brittany Elayne
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 758X
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2015
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The human-animal relationship is one that has been pondered by scholars for ages. It has been used to define both what it means to be “human” and what it means to be “animal”. This thesis examines human-animal relationships as found in the mortuary record within the area of Verulamium which is now situated in the modern town of St. Albans. Once considered to be a major centre, the mortuary rites given to its people suggest high variabilities in the approach to the “personhood” of certain classes of both people and animals. While 480 human individuals were examined, only a small percentage was found to have been afforded the rite of a human-animal co-burial. It is this small percentage that will be examined in greater detail. Of major concern are the treatments to both the human and animal pre- and post- burial and the point at which the animal enters into the funerary practice. These questions are investigated primarily by using zooarchaeological and human osteological techniques, but also refer to primarily literary sources and other data. This analysis is situated in a broader theoretical approach on human-animal relationships and which adopts a non-anthropocentric view point. In order to investigate the data holistically, both interactions in life and in death were observed as far as the faunal record would allow. It is concluded that within the St. Albans area a specific relationship between certain classes of humans and specific domestic animal individuals existed and is demonstrated through their mutual participation in rites that extended beyond the typical agricultural needs. It was also recognised that different animal individuals within the same species would fulfil the ultimate role of ‘food item’. However, these roles would most likely not occur simultaneously in this area.
Supervisor: Hamilakis, Yannis ; Serjeantson, Dale Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available