Human interactions with non-human animals are of interest to archaeologists & anthropologists. This panel will allow for a discussion of the roles of non-human animals in human societies past & present, & consider the benefits of interdisciplinary dialogue to the emerging subfield of Anthrozoology.
Interactions between human and non-human animals have been integral to human history. Non-human animals feature in Neolithic cave paintings, in ritual deposits, in burials and other more mundane contexts within the archaeological record. They also play significant roles in the contemporary or near contemporary human societies documented in the ethnographic record in the form of, for example, pets, livestock, totems, sustenance, adversaries and markers of status. Consequently the study of these interactions is an area of considerable interest to both archaeologists and social anthropologists. Moreover, while the disciplinary identities of archaeology and social anthropology are, in many respects, contingent on the recognition of fundamental and immutable differences between humans and other animals, evolutionary anthropology is predicated on some form of continuity, at least between humans and the other higher primates. Such a position is in many ways reminiscent of the beliefs and practices held by many of the peoples studied by archaeologists and social anthropologists. An open and ongoing dialogue between practitioners of all three disciplines therefore is of fundamental import, especially in the growing sub-field of animal studies or Anthrozoology. The proposed panel aims to bring together practitioners from all branches of anthropology and archaeology who are engaged in research involving human relationships with other animals, and who utilise interdisciplinary methodologies or theoretical perspectives.