Skip to main content

Wild Nature? Human-Animal Relations on Neopalatial Crete

  • Andrew Shapland (a1)

The Neopalatial period of Middle to Late Bronze Age Crete is marked by a dramatic increase in the depiction of non-human animals. In contrast to the domesticates listed in the Linear A documents, the animals which appear on frescoes and seals are largely wild or supernatural, or in non-domestic scenes (particularly bull-leaping). This article seeks to explore the quantitative differences between the types of animals displayed on different media, and ask why non-domestic animals appear in such significant proportions. Arthur Evans and subsequent scholars have explained this phenomenon as an expression of interest in the natural world. Instead of this modernist view, it will be argued here that it is by trying to approach these depictions as expressing specifically Bronze Age human-animal relations that the role of such animals in Cretan society can be understood. From a relational perspective, the animals depicted can be seen as active participants in prestige activities such as hunting or bull-leaping rather than the passive motifs of artistic naturalists. This perspective might also provide a more illuminating answer to the question: why depict animals?

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • ISSN: 0959-7743
  • EISSN: 1474-0540
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-archaeological-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 101 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 269 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.