Animals and Landscape in the Roman World

Organisers: Clare Rainsford (University of Bradford), David Roberts (Historic England)

Animals are increasingly recognised as active non-human agents which inhabit landscape, and their needs and requirements fundamentally shape human interactions with and perceptions of landscape. Through everyday social practices such as farming, hunting, industry and travel, animals influence social and individual identities and behaviours. The influence of animals in Roman society is evidenced directly in a wide range of primary sources, including literature, art, architecture, and artefacts. Zooarchaeological evidence provides a wealth of evidence for how animals lived, died, were consumed, fed, traded and transformed by interaction with human society. In turn, Roman society was transformed by interactions with animals in spheres of society including agriculture, religion, trade, war and domestic life.

This session seeks to focus on how interaction with animals shaped practice in the rural landscape in the Roman period.The Roman world incorporated a multiplicity of landscapes and ecosystems, from Britain to Africa, as well as a diversity of cosmologies and social practices. A range of case studies will draw out the importance and variety of human interaction with animals in shaping the landscapes of the Roman Empire.

Session Programme

This session is made up of five papers and a discussant.

1. The Everyday Ritual: Social Practice and the Animalscape
2. How animals co-created the Romano-British countryside
3. Consumption and Ritual Treatment of Animals in Northern Gallic Sanctuaries
4. Hunting scenes on mosaics from Roman Africa
5. Ownership, attitudes, and animal management systems in northern Britannia
6. Discussant
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