Session: #365

Theme & Session Format

5. Assembling archaeological theory and the archaeological sciences
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

“Invisible Products”- Scientific Advancements in Identifying Animal Secondary Products and Their Contribution to Understanding Animal Domestication and Human-Animal Relationships
While the identification of meat exploitation in antiquity is relatively straight forward through the study of animal bones, identifying the use of animal secondary products, meaning, products that can be continually harvested during the animals’ life without slaughtering it (e.g. milk, wool, dung, eggs, honey, etc.) often requires the use of multi-disciplinary scientific methods. From the study of milk products using microbiology, lipid residues and proteomics to the identification of animal dung exploitation using micromorphology, these kinds of studies not only reveal otherwise almost invisible animal products, but they also provide a better understanding of human subsistence practices and human-animal-environmental relationships. In the last two decades, the adoption of methods from the natural sciences to archaeology has allowed some tremendous advances in the identification of animal secondary products, pushing back in time their utilization by humans and highlighting their importance as a motivation for animal domestication. In this session, we aim to review the latest scientific advancements and discoveries, and importantly, discuss future directions in the study of animal secondary products and how these contribute to our understanding of the socio-economic implications brought about by human-animal interactions.
Animal domestication, Secondary products, Archaeological Science, human-animal interaction
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Main organiser:
Shira Gur-Arieh (Germany) 1,2
Marco Madella (Spain) 2
Cynthianne Spiteri (Germany) 3
1. Institute for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archeology and Provincial Roman Archeology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich
2. CaSEs Research Group (Culture and Socio-Ecological Dynamics), Department of Humanities - Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona
3. Institute for Prehistory, Early History and Medieval Archeology, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen