Animals, Economics, and Culture in the Athenian Agora: Comparative Zooarchaeological Investigations

by Michael MacKinnon

Hesperia, Volume 83, Issue 2
Page(s): 189-255
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2972/hesperia.83.2.0189
Year: 2014


This synthetic investigation of a large sample of zooarchaeological remains, collected chiefly over the years 1934 through 1996, highlights the range of human cultural, social, and behavioral aspects involving animals and their products over time and space for the Athenian Agora. Evidence supports the hypothesis that specialized husbandry and dietary schemes focusing on domestic sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle began in Neolithic times. Subsequent periods build upon this foundation, and culminate in extensive deposits of butchery, horn and bone processing, and dietary waste within Classical-period levels. Patterns alter with Roman and Late Antique influence to slightly augmented pork consumption and even more systematic butchery patterns, before shifting back again to higher frequencies of goat pastoralism during Byzantine times.