Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Two tales of one city: data, inference and Carthaginian infant sacrifice

  • J.H. Schwartz (a1) (a2), F.D. Houghton (a1), L. Bondioli (a3) and R. Macchiarelli (a4) (a5)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.

Abstract

Recent issues of Antiquity have seen much discussion on the topic of Carthaginian infant sacrifice: was it a Graeco-Roman fiction or did it really happen? There are strongly held opinions on both sides of the argument, with much resting on the age profile of the children interred at the cemetery known as the Carthage Tophet. Here, the authors respond to claims by Smith et al. (2011, 2013) that their ageing of the infants and children was incorrect, and so also by extension was their interpretation that not all interments at the Tophet were the result of sacrifice.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Two tales of one city: data, inference and Carthaginian infant sacrifice
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Two tales of one city: data, inference and Carthaginian infant sacrifice
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Two tales of one city: data, inference and Carthaginian infant sacrifice
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence (Email: jhs@pitt.edu)

References

Hide All
Anfe, T., Arakaki, Y., Nakamura, D.M. & Viera, G.F.. 2012. Mesiodistal and buccolingual crown size of deciduous teeth from a tooth bank in Brazil. Brazil Dental Science 15: 7478.
Antoine, D., Hillson, S. & Dean, M.C.. 2009. The developmental clock of dental enamel: a test for the periodicity of prism cross-striations in modern humans and an evaluation of the most likely sources of error in histological studies of this kind. Journal of Anatomy 214: 4555. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7580.2008.01010.x
Becker, M.J. 2011. Etruscan infants: children's cemeteries at Tarquinia, Italy as indicators of an age of transition, in Lally, M. & Moore, A. (ed.) (Re)thinking the little ancestor: new perspectives on the archaeology of infancy and childhood: 2436. Oxford: Archaeopress.
Behrman, R.E. & Shiono, P.H.. 1997. Neonatal risk factors, in Fanaroff, A.A. & Martin, R.J. (ed.) Neonatal-perinatal medicine: diseases of the fetus and infant: 312. St Louis (MO): Mosby.
Buikstra, J.E. & Swegle, M.. 1989. Bone modification due to burning: experimental evidence, in Bonnischen, R. & Sorg, M.H. (ed.) Bone modification: 247–58. Orono: University of Maine.
Chalmers, J. & Macfarlane, A.. 1980. Interpretation of perinatal statistics, in Wharton, B.A. (ed.) Topics in perinatal medicine: 111. Tunbridge Wells: Pitman Medical.
Charles-Picard, G. 1945. Le sanctuaire dit de Tanit à Carthage. Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 89: 443–52.
Ciasca, A., Di Salvo, R., Castellino, M. & Di Patti, C.. 1996. Saggio preliminare sugli incinerati del ‘tofet’ di Mozia. Vicino Oriente 10: 317–46.
Coughlin, J.W. 1967. Sex differences in the prenatal human deciduous molar crown. Jounral of Dental Research 46: 554–58. https://doi.org/10.1177/00220345670460031701
Detienne, M. 1989. Culinary practices and the spirit of sacrifice, in Detienne, M. & Vernant, J.-P. (ed.) The cuisine of sacrifice among the Greeks: 120. Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press.
Deutsch, D. & Shapira, L.. 1987. Changes in mineral distribution and conentration during enamel development in the deciduous human maxillary and mandiblar teeth. Growth 51: 334–41.
Docter, R.F., Smits, E., Hakbijl, T., Stuijts, I.L.M. & van der Plicht, H.. 2003. Interdisciplinary research on urns from the Carthaginian tophet and their contents. Paleohistoria 43–44 (2001–2002): 417–33.
Durfee, R.B. 1987. Obstetric complications of pregnancy, in Wharton, B.A. (ed.) Topics in perinatal medicine: 255–78. Tunbridge Wells: Pitman Medical.
Fazekas, I.G. & Kósa, F.. 1979. Forensic fetal osteology. Budapest: Akademiai Kiado.
Flaubert, G. 1862. Salammbô. Paris: Michel Levy.
Gejvall, N.-G. 1949. Determination of cremated bones from Carthage. Oxford: Ashmolean Museum.
Gras, M., Rouillard, P. & Teixidor, J.. 1991. The Phoenicians and death. Berytus—Archaeological Studies 39: 127–76.
Hanihara, T. & Ishida, H.. 2005. Metric dental variation of major human populations. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 128: 287–98. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.20080
Harden, D. 1927. Punic urns from the Precinct of Tanit at Carthage. American Journal of Archaeology 31: 297310. https://doi.org/10.2307/497821
Hesse, B. & Wapnish, P.. 1985. Animal bone archaeology: from objectives to analysis. Washington, D.C.: Taraxacum.
Kelsey, F.W. 1926. Excavations at Carthage, 1925: a preliminary report. New York: Macmillan.
Krogman, W.M. 1949. The human skeleton in legal medicine: medical aspects, in Levinson, S.A. (ed.) Symposium on medicolegal problems: 192. Philadelphia (PA): J.B. Lippincott.
Krogman, W.M. 1962. The human skeleton in forensic medicine. Springfield (IL): Charles C. Thomas.
Lancel, S. 1995. Carthage: a history. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lapeyre, R.P. & Pellegrin, A.. 1942. Carthage Punique (814–146 avant J.-C.). Paris: Payot.
Lovejoy, C.O., Meindl, R.S., Mensforth, R.P. & Barton, T.J.. 1985. Multifactorial determination of skeletal age at death: a method and blind tests of its accuracy. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 68: 114. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.1330680102
Mayer, I., Schneider, S., Sydney-Zax, M. & Deutsch, D.. 1990. Thermal decomposition of developing enamel. Calcified Tissue International 46: 254–57. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02555004
Melchiorri, V. 2010. Le Tophet de Sulci (S. Antioco, Sardaigne). État des études et perspectives de la recherche. Ugarit-Forshungen 41 (2009): 509–24.
Muller, M., Depreux, R., Muller, P. & Fontaine, M.. 1952. Recherches anthropologiques sur les ossements retrouvés dans des urnes puniques. Bulletins et Mémoires de la Société d'Anthropologie de Paris, series X 3: 160–73. https://doi.org/10.3406/bmsap.1952.2909
Norman, N.J. 2002. Death and burial of Roman children: the case of the Yasmina cemetery at Carthage—part I, setting the stage. Mortality 7: 302–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/1357627021000025469
Poinssot, L. & Lantier, R.. 1923. Un sanctuaire de Tanit à Carthage. Revue de l'Histoire des Religions 1923: 3266.
Quinn, J. 2011. The cultures of the Tophet. Identification and identity in the Phoenician diaspora, in Gruen, E.S. (ed.) Cultural identity in the ancient Mediterranean: 388413. Los Angeles (CA): Getty Research Institute.
Richard, J. 1961. Étude médico-légale des urnes sacrificielles puniques et de leur contenu. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Université de Lille.
Saunders, S.R. & Barrans, L.. 1999. What can be done about the infant category in skeletal sample?, in Hoppa, R.D. & Fitzgerald, C.M. (ed.) Human growth in the past: studies from bones and teeth: 183209. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Schwartz, J.H. 1993. What the bones tell us. New York: Henry Holt & Co.
Schwartz, J.H. 2007. Skeleton keys: an introduction to human skeletal morphology, development, and analysis. New York: Oxford University Press.
Schwartz, J.H., Houghton, F., Macchiarelli, R. & Bondioli, L.. 2010. Skeletal remains from Punic Carthage do not support systematic sacrifice of infants. PLoS ONE 5: 112. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0009177
Schwartz, J.H., Houghton, F., Bondioli, L. & Macchiarelli, R.. 2012. Bones, teeth, and estimating age of perinates: Carthaginian infant sacrifice revisited. Antiquity 86: 738–45. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00047888
Scobie, A. 1986. Slums, sanitation, and mortality in the Roman world. Klio 2: 399433.
Shipman, P., Forster, G. & Schoeninger, M.. 1984. Burnt bones and teeth: an experimental study of colour, morphology, crystal structure and shrinkage. Journal of Archaeological Science 11: 307–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/0305-4403(84)90013-X
Smith, P., Avishai, G., Greene, J.A. & Stager, L.E.. 2011. Aging cremated infants: the problem of sacrifice at the Tophet of Carthage. Antiquity 85: 859–75. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00068368
Smith, P., Stager, L.E., Greene, J.A. & Avishai, G.. 2013. Age estimations attest to infant sacrifice at the Carthage Tophet. Antiquity 87: 1191–99. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00049954
Soliel, J., Muller, P. & Richard, J.. 1958. Contribution à la détermination de l’âge des enfants sacrifiés à Carthage (étude des chapeaux de dentine calcinés). Annales de Médecine Légal et de Criminologie 38: 1725.
Stager, L.E. 2014. Rites of spring in the Carthaginian Tophet. Paper presented at the Babesch Byvanck Lecture, Leiden, The Netherlands, 2014.
Stager, L.E. & Wolff, S.R.. 1984. Child sacrifice at Carthage: religious rite or population control. Biblical Archaeology Review 10: 3151.
Stuckey, J. 2009. Tanit of Carthage. MatriFocus 8: 112. Available at: http://www.matrifocus.com/LAM09/spotlight.htm (accessed 9 December 2016).
Sydney-Zax, M., Mayer, I. & Deutsch, D.. 1991. Carbonate content in developing human and bovine enamel. Journal of Dental Research 70: 913–16. https://doi.org/10.1177/00220345910700051001
Taylor, C.M. & Pernoll, M.L.. 1987. Normal pregnancy & prenatal care, in Pernoll, M.L. & Benson, R.C. (ed.) Current obstetric & gynecologic diagnosis & treatment 1987: 161–77. Norwalk (CT): Appleton & Lange.
Ten Cate, A.R. 1989. Physiological tooth movement: eruption, and shedding, in Cate, A.R. Ten (ed.) Oral histology: development, structure, and function: 275–98. St Louis (MO): The C.V. Mosby Company.
van Zeist, W., Bottema, S. & van der Veen, M.. 2001. Diet and vegetation at ancient Carthage: the archaeological evidence. Gröningen: Gröningen Institute of Archaeology.
Whitaker, J.I.S. 1921. Motya: a Phoenician colony in Sicily. London: G. Bell & Sons.
Xella, P. 2009. Sacrifici di bambini nel mondo Fenicio e Punio nelle tesmonianze in linguq Grec e Latina: 1. Studi epigrafici e linguistici sui Vicino Oriente antico 25: 59100.
Xella, P. 2010. Per un ‘modello interpretativo’ del tofet: il tofet come necropoli infantile?, in Bartoloni, P., Matthiae, P., Nigro, I. & Romano, L. (ed.) Tiro, Cartagine, Lixus: nuove acquisizioni. Atti del convegno internazionale in onore di Maria Giulia Amadasi Guzzo: 259–79. Roma: Università di Roma ‘La Sapienza’.
Xella, P., Quinn, J., Melchiorri, V. & van Dommelen, P.. 2013. Phoenician bones of contention. Antiquity 87: 1199–207. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00049966
Yuen, K.K.W., So, L.L.Y. & Tang, E.L.K.. 1997. Mesiodistal crown diameters of the primary and permanent teeth in southern Chinese—a longitudinal study. European Journal of Orthodontics 19: 721–31. https://doi.org/10.1093/ejo/19.6.721

Keywords

Type Description Title
UNKNOWN
Supplementary materials

Schwartz supplementary material S1
Supplementary Figure

 Unknown (10.2 MB)
10.2 MB
UNKNOWN
Supplementary materials

Schwartz supplementary material S2
Supplementary Figure

 Unknown (19.2 MB)
19.2 MB
PDF
Supplementary materials

Schwartz supplementary material S3
Schwartz supplementary material

 PDF (244 KB)
244 KB

Two tales of one city: data, inference and Carthaginian infant sacrifice

  • J.H. Schwartz (a1) (a2), F.D. Houghton (a1), L. Bondioli (a3) and R. Macchiarelli (a4) (a5)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed

A correction has been issued for this article: