Breaking and Shaping Beastly Bodies: Animals as Material Culture in the Middle Ages [Paperback]

Aleksander Pluskowski (Author)

ISBN: 9781842172186 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2007 | Language: English 240p, H242 x W170 (mm)

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Breaking and Shaping Beastly Bodies


An important human trait is our inclination to develop complex relationships with numerous other species. In the great majority of cases however, these mutualistic relationships involve a pair of species, whose co-evolution has been achieved through behavioural adaptation driving positive selection pressures. Humans go a step further, opportunistically and, it sometimes seems, almost arbitrarily elaborating relationships with many other species, whether through domestication, pet-keeping, taming for menageries, deifying, pest-control, conserving iconic species, or recruiting as mascots. When we consider medieval attitudes to animals we are tackling a fundamentally human, and distinctly idiosyncratic, behavioural trait. The sixteen papers presented here investigate animals from zoological, anthropological, artistic and economic perspectives, within the context of the medieval world.

Table of Contents

Thinking about Beastly Bodies (Terry O'Connor)
Medieval Bone Flutes in England (Helen Leaf)
The Middle Ages on the Block: Animals, Guilds and Meat in the Medieval Period (Krish Seetah)
Communicating through Skin and Bone: Appropriating Animal Bodies in Medieval Western European Seigneurial Culture (Aleksander Pluskowski)
Taphonomy or Transfiguration: Do we need to Change the Subject? (Sue Stallibrass)
Seeing is Believing: Animal Material Culture in Medieval England (Sarah Wells)
The Beast, the Book and the Belt: an Introduction to the Study of Girdle or Belt Books from the Medieval Period (Jim Bloxam)
The Shifting use of Animal Carcasses in Medieval and Post-medieval London (Lisa Yeomans)
Hunting in the Byzantine Period in the Area between the Danube River and the Black Sea: Archaeozoological Data (Luminia Bejenaru and Carmen Tarcan)
Chasing the Ideal? Ritualism, Pragmatism and the Later Medieval Hunt in England (Richard Thomas)
Taking Sides: the Social Life of Venison in Medieval England (Naomi Sykes)
Animals as Material Culture in Middle Saxon England: The Zooarchaeological Evidence for Wool Production at Brandon (Pam Crabtree)
Animal Bones: Synchronous and Diachronic Distribution as Patterns of Socially Determined Meat Consumption in the Early and High Middle Ages in Central and Northern Italy (Marco Valenti and Frank Salvadori)
People and Animals in Northern Apulia from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages: Some Considerations (Antonella Buglione)
Animals and Economic Patterns of Medieval Apulia (South Italy): A Preliminary Report (Giovanni de Venuto)
Concluding Remarks (Pam Crabtree)

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