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Title: What did the fox say? : assessing the role of foxes through ethnographic and archaeological contexts
Author: Li, Xuelei
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 9695
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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The fox has always been an animal species carrying both economic values and symbolic significances. It has been playing unique roles in many cultures, from past to present. It is a highly adaptable wild species can be tamed but never be domesticated. The relationship between foxes and humans is thus an interesting topic to explore. This thesis evaluates the roles of foxes played in human societies by investigating various ethnographic data and archaeological remains. It initially presents a detailed summary of how animals involved in human cultures from the social aspect, a review of related theoretical definitions, and the categorisation of the fox. Ethnographic evidence has been used to investigate fox-related symbolism, mythologies, legends, and past and present cultural practices in Europe, China, Japan, and other areas. Possible archaeological remains of both physical and conceptual activities associated with foxes are suggested, and hence examined through the outline of several archaeological examples. Whereafter, fox remains of three archaeological sites are studied, including Southwest Point, Grotta Romanelli, and Mitchell. The practical and symbolic roles that foxes fulfilled within different cultures have been discussed based on the results of zooarchaeological analysis and local ethnographic data. To sum up, this thesis has not only enriched our understanding of human-animal relationships through the investigation of human-fox interactions, but also broadened our knowledge of symbolism and ritual in zooarchaeology.
Supervisor: Outram, Alan ; Hurcombe, Linda Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: fox ; zooarchaeology ; animal-human relations