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Institute of Archaeology

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Ornella Prato

Ornella Prato

Intertwined lives in the Mediterranean: Humans and animals at Etruscan Tarquinia

 

Email: tcrnop0@ucl.ac.uk
Section: World Archaeology
Supervisors:

Profile

Intertwined lives in the Mediterranean: Humans and animals at Etruscan Tarquinia

Alongside Rome, Central Tyrrhenian Italy (Etruria) is an absolutely key region for understanding socio-cultural change in 1st millennium BC Mediterranean. The profound transformations that this region underwent had critical repercussions across the basin, and had a great impact on the population's social behaviours and cultural traditions. Analysing how its population perceived and assimilated social and cultural change in their environment is crucial to assessing the broader picture of the region that includes Rome. Human-animal relationships have the potential to reveal all aspects (economic, social and ecological) of past human behaviour. In particular, in Mediterranean antiquity and in Etruria, animals were crucial in determining how to act socially and politically, as they were sacrificed and examined to infer gods' will. The study of human-animal interaction is thus a powerful entry into the study of human behaviour and the perception of nature. The lack of knowledge about animal-related activities leads to overly simplistic explanations of this topic, and it clouds our understanding of a central aspect of Etruscan culture. The aim of this project is to explore the interaction between humans and their environment through the investigation of human-animal relationships at Tarquinia. Indeed, the UNESCO site of Tarquinia is a major pre-Roman city, undoubtedly one of the most influential sites of the Mediterranean. A central aspect of the research is the interdisciplinary approach that aims to grasp the physical interaction with animals and the socio-cultural conceptualization of these by combining zooarchaeological and iconographic analysis of animals.

What drives this project is the assumption that from the comparative analysis of different types of evidence it is possible to grasp the conceptual and cognitive processes that drive past human behaviour.

Funding

LAHP (AHRC)

Education

    • BA: Cultural Heritage and Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, University of Milan, 2010
    • MA: Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, University of Milan, 2014
    Publications

    O. Prato, U. Tecchiati. (2017) I resti faunistici, in L. Perego (ed.) Sotto le mura di Tarquinia: indagini nella necropoli delle Morre a Pian di Civita, Tarchna, Suppl. 3

    O. Prato. I resti faunistici, in G. Bagnasco Gianni (ed.) Lo scavo del riempimento del pozzo del settore I del 'complesso monumentale'. Tarchna supplemento 5. (in preparation)

    Conference papers

    Convegno AIAZ, Lecce 2015; 8° Convegno Nazionale di Archeozoologia Lecce 11-14 Novembre 2015

    O. Prato, U. Tecchiati, G.Bagnasco: "Il caso del cavallo deposto nell'ipogeo del "Complesso monumentale" di Tarquinia (VT). Il sacrificio del cavallo in epoca etrusca."

    Convegno AIAZ, Lecce 2015; 8° Convegno Nazionale di Archeozoologia Lecce 11-14 Novembre 2015 (POSTER)

    O. Prato, U. Tecchiati: Sulla deposizione di Gallus gallus nella Tomba 4 UniMi della necropoli etrusco/romana de "Le Morre" di Tarquinia (VT). (in revision)

    Conference of Italian Archaeology, Galway 2016; Seventh Conference of Italian Archaeology, National University of Ireland, Galway, April 2016.

    O. Prato: Dogs, turtles and Etruscan tombs: the role of animal remains in the interpretation of disturbed archaeological context. (in preparation)

    Pzaf. Postgraduate ZooArchaeology Forum, Torun 2017; Institute of Archaeology, Nicolaus Copernicus University in collaboration with Zooarchaeology lab, University of Sheffield, 23rd-25th March, 2017

    O. Prato: Bones from the well: zooarchaeological analysis of the faunal remains from Tarquinia