Session: #298

Theme & Session Format

1. Artefacts, Buildings & Ecofacts
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Companions, Competitors, Fellow Travelers – Biomolecular and Zooarchaeological Evidence of Human-Carnivore Interactions in the Past
The common history of human-carnivoran coexistence combines a millennia-long record of mutual events and interactions: predation, competition, commensalism, migration, domestication, and extinction. The causes, types, and intensity of such interactions were undoubtedly the result of the complex impact of environmental conditions, evolutionary adaptations, the development of human culture and civilization, and human perception. Large carnivorans were perceived as a direct physical threat to people, simultaneously being most vulnerable to rapid extinction in human-dominated landscapes, while the smaller species had a larger potential to co-adapt.
A history of such past interactions can be traced using a zooarchaeological record. But in the last decades, it has been tremendously complemented by a wide range of molecular methods, such as direct dating, proteomics, genetics, and stable isotopes. The results allowed an in-depth look at carnivoran biogeography, population history, diet, and ecology. Following the recent advances and discoveries, the session will focus on the past relationships between humans and carnivorous mammals and birds across time and space – from the earliest stages of humanity until modern times. The aim is to bring together case studies from different parts of the globe and for a variety of carnivore taxa and to open up a discussion between the biomolecular record and interpreting archaeological evidence. The theme intends to explore the dynamics and evolution of the relationships through time, seen from an ecological and cultural perspective. The session is also open to palaeobiological and conservation-related issues with the aim of integrating archaeological and present perspectives on managing the coexistence of carnivores and humans.
archaeozoology, mammals, birds, stable isotopes, ancient DNA, proteomics
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Main organiser:
Danijela Popovic (Poland) 1
Chris Bauman (Finland) 2,3
Maciej Krajcarz (Poland) 4
Magdalena Krajcarz (Germany) 5,6
1. Centre of New Technologies, University of Warsaw
2. Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki
3. Department of Geosciences, University of Tübingen, Germany
4. Institute of Geological Sciences, Polish Academy of Sciences
5. Department of Geosciences, University of Tübingen
6. Institute of Archaeology, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń