What Can Faunal Remains Explain about Household Economies in Antiquity?

Dr. Lídia Colominas will present her latest research in the workshop OIKONOMIA ‘The Management of Ancient Domestic Economies: Comparing Textual and Material Approaches’, on 16th December 2021, organised by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M).

The entire event can be followed in streaming through the following link: https://eu.bbcollab.com/guest/69f2791c2de64691950d083af3081b16

12: 45 h What Can Faunal Remains Explain about Household Economies in Antiquity? Some Thoughts and Two Study Cases

Dr. Lídia Colominas (Institut Català d’Arqueologia Clàssica)

Ancient sites typically yield large amount of animal bones that are the remnants of a wide range of human activities. They are usually waste from domestic meat consumption, although they can also be butchery deposits; waste from activities linked to hide preparation, bone and antler working, or glue manufacture; or ritual deposits, to name only some of the possibilities.  

These faunal remains can be studied and contextualized at different scales of analysis (from the regional political community to the local household cluster), each of which provides different kind of information.  

The contextual study of animal bones at household level can provide first order information about the procurement, allocation and consumption of animal resources in the primary unit of economic decision-making, shedding light on its daily needs and economic activities. 

Here we discuss the possibilities of this micro-scale approach and present some study cases that show its potentialities and limitations.  

About the workshop

As described by the organisers:

“The OIKONOMIA workshop The Management of Ancient Domestic Economies: Comparing Textual and Material Approaches was born from the cooperation of two UC3M research institutes: the Institute of Culture and Technology and the “Lucio Anneo Seneca” Institute of Classical Studies. The central theme of the workshop: the birth of the economy and the functional management of the house in the ancient world, allows precisely a multidisciplinary reflection that requires the methodological contribution of different areas of the Humanities and Social Sciences. In addition, a theme such as that of the house in the ancient world, its management and the roles of its members, also allows a transversal approach thanks to anthropological and gender perspectives, whose application is consistent with the most innovative approaches in studies on the world of antiquity.

The main objective of the OIKONOMIA workshop is precisely the organization of a workshop that encourages dialogue between researchers of international origin and renowned in their respective fields. In parallel, another important objective is that the seminar can serve to establish new methodological perspectives with which to approach the comprehensive study of domestic economies in classical antiquity.”

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