Special Issue "Human-Animal-Environment Relationship in the Past"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Dominik Poradowski
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Division of Animal Anatomy, Department of Biostructure and Animal Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Kożuchowska 1, 51-631 Wrocław, Poland
Interests: animal anatomy; veterinary medicine; osteology; archaeozoology; paleopathology; cell culture; cancer research
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Aleksander Chrószcz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Division of Animal Anatomy, Department of Biostructure and Animal Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Kożuchowska 1, 51-631 Wrocław, Poland
Interests: animal anatomy; veterinary medicine; veterinary history; archaeozoology; paleopathology; archeology; cultural history
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Since the 1960s, archaeozoology (known also and osteoarchaeology), has been aimed at the description of the roles animals have played in human life, from Neolithic times to early Modernity. Animal skeletal remains are a valuable source of knowledge regarding human–animal relations, starting from domestication, i.e., the beginning of intentional animal use and rational breeding in history. Some of the bone changes observed in unearthed animal skeletal assemblages can be the result not only of domestication, but also of animal diseases leading to our paleopathological findings. Interpretation of these findings can provide us with information on the extent to which human societies had developed in the past and help us to reflect on domestic animal care, animal use and utilization, environmental changes, and the history of zoonoses. Over the centuries, anthropopressure has caused important changes in the natural environment, transforming humans from hunters and gatherers through farmers and breeders to modern people. The role of archaeozoology is to build a clear picture of this historical process from the Neolithic Revolution to today.

Thus, the aim of this Special Issue is to present recent research and reviews on human–animal–environment interactions and relationships, which can be recognized through archaeozoological materials, as well as on our interpretations of animals’ role in the past and the explanation of bone changes caused both by human activities and animal diseases.

We invite you to submit your scientific work for publication in this Special Issue.

Dr. Dominik Poradowski, DVM
Assoc. Prof. Aleksander Chrószcz, DVM
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • animal skeletal remains
  • archaeozoology
  • paleopathology
  • osteology
  • animal healthcare in the past
  • animal husbandry in the past

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Wild Mammals in the Economy of Wrocław (Poland) as an Example of a Medieval and Modern Era City in the Light of Interdisciplinary Research
Animals 2021, 11(9), 2562; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092562 - 31 Aug 2021
Viewed by 563
Abstract
The purpose of this article was to determine the role of wild animals in the economy of a historical city on the basis of archaeological and cultural layers of medieval and early modern Wrocław from the 11th to the 17th century. Archaeozoological analyses [...] Read more.
The purpose of this article was to determine the role of wild animals in the economy of a historical city on the basis of archaeological and cultural layers of medieval and early modern Wrocław from the 11th to the 17th century. Archaeozoological analyses were applied, mainly encompassing the percentage share of particular animal species and the research of material culture, i.e., items manufactured from bones, antlers and hides of wild animals. The collected data were compared with written sources. As a result of the following analysis, a low but stable frequency of bone remains in urban layers and is evidence for occasional breaching of the medieval hunting laws by burghers, possibly driven by the opportunity to sell meat and other wild animal products on the markets. Moreover, the relatively low amounts of items made from bones, antlers and wild animal leather may indicate low availability or seasonality (shed antler) of the materials, which might have indirectly raised the product price. Additionally, the area around Wrocław did not feature large forest complexes, which are habitats of wild game, thus explaining the low frequency of wild animal remains in the archaeozoological material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human-Animal-Environment Relationship in the Past)
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Article
The Early Modern Silesian Gallows (15th–19th Century) as an Example of Stray Animals Utilization before the Rise of Institutional Veterinary Care
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1210; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051210 - 22 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 484
Abstract
In the past, executioners played an important role in the legal system. Besides sentence executions, they also worked as dogcatchers (i.e., eliminating stray animals or cadavers of dead animals from towns), and were responsible for sanitary conditions within their towns and closest neighborhoods. [...] Read more.
In the past, executioners played an important role in the legal system. Besides sentence executions, they also worked as dogcatchers (i.e., eliminating stray animals or cadavers of dead animals from towns), and were responsible for sanitary conditions within their towns and closest neighborhoods. Archaeological explorations of gallows in the towns of Lower Silesia (Poland) provide evidence of such activities, including animal skeletal remains. Archaeozoological analysis of these materials from the towns Kamienna Góra (Landeshut), Złotoryja (Goldberg), and Jelenia Góra (Hirschberg) are the subjects of this study. Our work also stresses the nature of the executioner’s profession in animal health control and town hygiene maintenance before the development of modern veterinary services. The results show significant differences in the frequency of species and distribution of anatomical elements in accessible assemblages compared with animal skeletal remains unearthed in typical waste pits or classical inhumation, allowing the assumption that the animals were anatomically adults, and their health statuses were generally good. The dominant species, equids and dogs, were represented by skeletal remains, with the predominance of less valuable body parts (distal parts of appendices, caudal parts of the vertebral column). The fragmentation of accessible bone assemblages narrows the ability of larger conclusions (i.e., minimum number of individual estimations). The work enlightens the complex role of executioners pertaining to the hygiene of early modern town communities, a role later replaced by professional veterinarians with all of the consequences of the transition process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human-Animal-Environment Relationship in the Past)
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Article
The Iron Age Dogs from Alaybeyi Höyük, Eastern Anatolia
Animals 2021, 11(4), 1163; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11041163 - 18 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1049
Abstract
To date, little is known about the biological and cultural status of Iron Age dogs in Anatolia. Here, we present a zooarchaeological study of an assemblage of 143 Iron Age dog bones, including two dog skeletons, unearthed from the 2016 and 2017 salvage [...] Read more.
To date, little is known about the biological and cultural status of Iron Age dogs in Anatolia. Here, we present a zooarchaeological study of an assemblage of 143 Iron Age dog bones, including two dog skeletons, unearthed from the 2016 and 2017 salvage excavations at Alaybeyi Höyük, Eastern Anatolia. At least eight adults and one juvenile individual, along with a large number of miscellaneous specimens, were identified. The morphological status of the Alaybeyi dogs were primarily compared to previously published Iron Age dogs from Yoncatepe in Eastern Anatolia, and with the average mean of 18 modern dog breeds. Unlike in other Eastern Anatolian Iron Age sites, butcher marks were observed in some specimens, indicating at least occasional cynophagy at the site. Noticeable pathologies were found in about 5% of the sample, particularly pathologies of the oral cavity and dentitions, suggesting that some of the dogs at Alaybeyi Höyük might have been undernourished, had to live on solid food, and probably injured by humans. The results of this study reflect both the morphological and biological status of Alaybeyi dogs, as well as the Alaybeyi people’s attitudes toward dogs, adding vital information to the very limited archaeological knowledge of dogs in Anatolia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human-Animal-Environment Relationship in the Past)
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Article
Dogs in the Wroclaw Stronghold, 2nd Half of the 10th–1st Half of the 13th Century (Lower Silesia, Poland)—An Zooarchaeological Overview
Animals 2021, 11(2), 543; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020543 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 518
Abstract
This article pertains to the issue of early medieval dogs (10th–mid-13th century) from the territory of Poland and Central Europe. The study is based on dog remains from the Wroclaw Cathedral Island (Ostrów Tumski), one of the most important administrative centres of early [...] Read more.
This article pertains to the issue of early medieval dogs (10th–mid-13th century) from the territory of Poland and Central Europe. The study is based on dog remains from the Wroclaw Cathedral Island (Ostrów Tumski), one of the most important administrative centres of early medieval Poland, the capital of a secular principality and the seat of diocese authorities. The main morphological and functional types of dogs living in Wroclaw and other parts of Poland were characterized on that basis. It has been concluded that the roles and perceptions of dogs were very ambiguous. On the one hand, they were hunting companionship for the elite and were considered a symbol of devotion and loyalty. On the other hand, dogs symbolised disgrace. In everyday life, these animals were sometimes abused, their skin was sometimes tanned and their bones modified into tools, and in exceptional cases, dogs were even eaten. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human-Animal-Environment Relationship in the Past)
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Article
A Cat Skeleton from the Balatlar Church Excavation, Sinop, Turkey
Animals 2021, 11(2), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020288 - 23 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1337
Abstract
In the 2015 excavation season, an east–west oriented burial (2015-Grave-14) built with large dimension stone blocks was unearthed on the south edge of “Area IVi” at the Balatlar Church in Sinop, on the northeastern Black Sea coast of Turkey. In this grave, which [...] Read more.
In the 2015 excavation season, an east–west oriented burial (2015-Grave-14) built with large dimension stone blocks was unearthed on the south edge of “Area IVi” at the Balatlar Church in Sinop, on the northeastern Black Sea coast of Turkey. In this grave, which is dated between the end of the 6th century AD and the first half of the 7th century AD, a human skeleton was found with the head to the west and a cat skeleton was carefully placed next to the right femur. This study on the burial and the cat skeleton within it shows that, compared to the Roman period, the status of cats reached a higher level during the Byzantine period. It was found that alongside of being a pet, the Balatlar cat was a young healthy female individual that instinctively hunted rodents and birds, given that the remains of a rat and a sparrow were found in the region of the abdominal cavity, corresponding with the stomach location in the living animal. The grave presents the most significant direct archaeological evidence of a pet–human bond recorded at any Byzantine site so far. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human-Animal-Environment Relationship in the Past)
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Article
Different Approach to Horses—The Use of Equid Remains in the Early Middle Ages on the Example of Ostrów Tumski in Wroclaw
Animals 2020, 10(12), 2294; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10122294 - 04 Dec 2020
Viewed by 613
Abstract
The following article concerns the functional use of horse bones in the early Middle Ages (mainly in the period from the mid of the 10th to the 12th/13th century). The authors try to explain how such remains were used and how common it [...] Read more.
The following article concerns the functional use of horse bones in the early Middle Ages (mainly in the period from the mid of the 10th to the 12th/13th century). The authors try to explain how such remains were used and how common it was. It is also discussed whether the special role of the horse in medieval societies somehow restricted its post-mortem usage, or perhaps there was no difference between the skeletal remains of horses and other species in this regard. For this purpose, statistical calculations on the use of the bones of various mammals were made. Only the remains of the species determined during the archaeozoological analysis were taken into account. The specific use of individual parts of a horse skeleton was also noted. In addition, the analysis also encompasses all other types of horse remains that could be used by humans (hide, hair, etc.). The consumption of horse meat was discussed separately: on the basis of the preserved traces, an attempt was made to determine whether it had happened, and if so, how popular it had been. Overall, such comprehensive analysis aims to show the various roles of the horse. It was not only a mount, but also a beast of burden, a source of food and raw material as well. The main purpose of this study is to describe the role of horses in human medieval societies of Ostrów Tumski on the basis of accessible equid remains. The highlighting of the human–horse relationship in the past allows us to understand the importance and value of the horse both as a life companion and the source of food or leather and bone tools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human-Animal-Environment Relationship in the Past)
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