The Materiality of Human-Animal Relationships: Animals as Hides, Furs, Fibres, Sinew, and Tools

Author(s): Linda Hurcombe; Theresa Emmerich Kamper

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "HumAnE Archaeology" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Human relationships with animals include materials not just food. Animal products provide strong resistant materials for tools, and flexible ones for clothing and containers. Humans can wrap themselves and sleep warmer because they have turned animals into clothing, bedding and shelters. The tools made from them can enable hunting, food processing, and the preparation of other craft materials. We present a broad perspective looking at the way both wild and domesticated animals have been used by humans. Based on our practical knowledge of many kinds of animal materials and products, we outline the ways in which the finished artefacts can have smells and textures that are a combination of the original animal and the way humans have chosen to process it. Inherent knowledge of species-specific characteristics influences animal selection and therefore hunting and herding practices. Differences between species and within one species (sex, age, condition) can cause humans to exploit one animal over another to align to a specific purpose. Awareness of the effect of exploitation patterns can manipulate the availability and suitability of animals into the future. In all these ways animal-based material culture is a tangible expression of human-animal relationships.

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The Materiality of Human-Animal Relationships: Animals as Hides, Furs, Fibres, Sinew, and Tools. Linda Hurcombe, Theresa Emmerich Kamper. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451585)


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Abstract Id(s): 25634