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Human-Animal Meeting Points: Use of Space in the Household Arena in Past Societies

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Abstract The construction and use of space is highly structuring in the lives of household members of both human and non-human animals. The choice of social practice is embedded in the ways in which both human and non-human animals physically organize the world around them. The architectural vestiges of houses—both in terms of the distribution of material culture within and surrounding them, and architectural choices—provide frameworks for a social practice that was shared between humans and living, domestic animals, or animal materiality. The notion of meeting points is explored via both its tangible and metaphorical aspects to approach the meetings—the physical performances and their significance—of humans and animals in the past. To gauge the potential likenesses and differences, two case studies are compared from the Late Bronze Age (900-500 BC) in Scandinavia and Early Iron Age (800-500) in Sicily. Both case studies represent societies where domestic animals were present and formed part of the household subsistence. A framework is presented that takes into consideration the spatial potential of allowing human-animal relationships to unfold within the framework of the everyday social practice of the household.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Archaeology, History and Conservation, University of Oslo


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