Bears and people: from the wilderness to dancing

Author(s): Hannah O'Regan

Year: 2017


There has been a very strong relationship between human societies and the brown bear (Ursus arctos) in many different places and cultures. The bear has had multiple roles in European societies, from the ancient (and modern) epitome of the wild, through religious symbol to the arenas of the Roman Empire, and their later use as entertainment. At what point does the bear’s position change in society from an animal to be feared, to one to be mocked? In terms of captive management, a fully grown bear would require considerable space and food. How and where were these captive bears kept? Did they survive into adulthood, and what is the evidence for taming? These issues will be examined here using evidence from zooarchaeology, material culture and iconography.

Cite this Record

Bears and people: from the wilderness to dancing. Hannah O'Regan. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430486)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15092