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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter gives a short overview of animal husbandry in Iron Age Europe. In this largely agrarian society, people depended on animals for food, transport, and labour. Although animal husbandry shows a high degree of variety, related to differences in climate, geography, and the complexity of society, broad geographical patterns are apparent in the proportions of different species, with cattle dominant on most sites in north-western Europe and sheep/goat at most Mediterranean sites. In some regions, communities were self-sufficient, while others included proto-urban sites and sanctuaries, which had to be supplied with food and sacrificial animals. Hunting was of little importance in terms of contribution to the diet, although an exception is found in eastern Spain. Animals not only played a vital role in the agrarian economy, but were also important in rituals, such as deposits in houses and funerary ritual, and animal sacrifice in sanctuaries.

Keywords: animal husbandry, agrarian economy, mixed farming, exploitation, diet, secondary product, animal size, animal sacrifice, funerary ritual

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