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Animals in the urban fabric of Ostia: initiating a comparative zooarchaeological synthesis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 November 2014

Michael MacKinnon
Dept. of Classics, University of Winnipeg,
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Copyright © Journal of Roman Archaeology L.L.C. 2014 

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1 Meiggs, R., Roman Ostia (Oxford 1973)Google Scholar and Pavolini, C., Ostia (Rome-Bari 2006)Google Scholar provide further details of the historical development of Ostia.

2 Istituto di Paleontologia Umana, “Reperti osteologici e malacologici,” in Carandini, A. (ed.), Ostia I: Le Terme del Nuotatore (StMisc 13, 1968) 122–24Google Scholar; Reperti osteologici e malacologici,” in Carandini, A. (ed.), Ostia III (StMisc 21, 1973) 649–50Google Scholar; Reperti osteologici e malacologici,” in Carandini, A. and Panella, C. (edd.), Ostia IV (StMisc 23, 1977) 273–75Google Scholar.

3 Sena, E. De and Rivello, E., “Refuse or re-use? Analysis and interpretation of a pottery deposit excavated near the aqueduct of Ostia Antica,” in Malfitana, D., Poblome, J. and Lund, J. (edd.), Old pottery in a new century: innovating perspectives on Roman pottery studies (Rome 2006) 363–75Google Scholar.

4 Ruyt, C. De, “Ricerche archeolgiche nel tempio de Fabri Navales a Ostia,” ArchLaz 12 (1995) 401–6Google Scholar.

5 Kirschuink, N., Etude de la faune du Temple des Fabri Navales (unpublished report 1993, University of Namur)Google Scholar.

6 DeLaine, J., “The Insula of the Paintings at Ostia I.4.2-4: paradigm for a city in flux,” in Cornell, T. and Lomas, K. (edd.), Urban society in Roman Italy (London 1995) 79106 Google Scholar; Building activity in Ostia in the second century A.D.,” in Bruun, C. and Zevi, A. Gallina (edd.), Ostia e Portus nelle loro relazioni con Roma (ActInstRomFinl 27, 2002) 41102 Google Scholar.

7 Martin, A. et al., “The urbanistic project on the previously unexcavated areas of Ostia (DAI-AAR 1996-2001),” MAAR 47 (2002) 259304 Google Scholar.

8 MacKinnon, M., “Faunal summary (seasons 1998-2000),” in Heinzelmann, M. (ed.), “Ostia, Regionen III und IV. Untersuchungen in den unausgegrabenen Bereichen des Stadtgebietes. Vorbericht zur vierten Grabungskampagne 2001,” RömMitt 109 (2002) 225–42Google Scholar.

9 Bukowiecki, E., Dessales, H. and Dubouloz, J., Ostie, l'eau dans la ville. Châteaux d'eau et réseau d'adduction (CollEFR 402, 2008)Google Scholar.

10 Leguilloux, M., “Analyse de la faune provenant des sondages 15 et 6b,” in Bukowiecki, E., Dessales, H. and Dubouloz, J. (edd.), Ostie, l'eau dans la ville. Châteaux d'eau et réseau d'adduction (CollÉFR 402; 2008) 227–34Google Scholar.

11 E.g., DeLaine 1995 and 2002 (supra n.6); De Ruyt 1995 (supra n.4); Martin et al. (supra n.7).

12 E.g., Bukowiecki et al. 2008 (supra n.9).

13 (faunal remains under study by N. Conti).

14 (faunal materials under study by S. Hamilton-Dyer).

16 Indeed, recovery details for some assemblages are lacking, often leading to an assumption that sieves were not used in those cases.

17 Barker, G., “To sieve or not to sieve,” Antiquity 49 (1975) 6163 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

18 MacKinnon, M., Production and consumption of animals in Roman Italy (JRA Suppl. 54, 2004) 4374 Google Scholar.

19 Silver, I. A., “The ageing of domestic animals,” in Brothwell, D. R. and Higgs, E. S. (edd.), Science and archaeology (London 1969) 283302 Google Scholar; Grant, A., “The use of tooth wear as a guide to the age of domestic ungulates,” in Wilson, B., Grigson, C. and Payne, S. (edd.), Ageing and sexing animal bones from archaeological sites (BAR 109; Oxford 1982) 91108 Google Scholar; Payne, S., “Reference codes for wear states in the mandibular teeth of young sheep, ovis, and goats, capra,” JArchSci 14 (1987) 609–14Google Scholar.

20 von den|Driesch, A., A guide to the measurement of animal bones from archaeological sites (Cambridge, MA 1976)Google Scholar.

21 The following contexts and trenches from the DAI/AAR excavations produced faunal assemblages too small to make this cut: Harbour Basin (Tr. 21), Horreum (Tr. 22), Market Building (Tr. 24), Navalia (Tr. 33). See Martin et al. (supra n.7) fig. 2 for a plan of the complete set of trenches.

22 King, A. C., “Diet in the Roman world: a regional inter-site comparisons of the mammal bones,” JRA 12 (1999) 192 Google Scholar.

23 Reports cited supra n.2.

24 Kirschvink (supra n.5).

25 Martin et al. (supra n.7) 265.

26 Ibid.

27 Ibid. 263.

28 Bauer, F. A. and Heinzelmann, M., “The Constantinian Bishop's church at Ostia: preliminary report on the 1998 season,” JRA 12 (1999) 342–53Google Scholar.

29 Wilson, A., “Detritus, disease and death in the city,” JRA 15 (2002) 480 Google Scholar.

30 This has been suggested in the case of faunal materials at Pompeii: Ciaraldi, M. and Richardson, J., “Food, ritual and rubbish in the making of Pompeii,” in Fincham, G. et al. (edd.), TRAC 99 (Oxford 2000) 79 Google Scholar.

31 Panciera, S., “Nettezza urbana a Roma. Organizzazione e responsabili,” in Raventós, X. Dupré and Remolà, J.-A. (edd.), Sordes urbis (Rome 2000) 95105 Google Scholar.

32 Wilson (supra n.29).

33 S. Gelichi, “L'eliminazione dei rifiuti nelle città romane del Nord Italia tra antichità ed alto medioevo,” in Dupré Raventós and Remolà (supra n.31) 12-23.

34 Watanabe, M., “The natural remains unearthed from UU.SS.4. Preliminary reports, archaeological investigations at Porta Capua, Pompeii,” Opusc. Pomp. 6 (1996) 6365 Google Scholar.

35 Only sites with available (and sufficient) MNI data for skeletal-part distribution were included in Table 3.

36 Meiggs (supra n.1) 27-34.

37 For which no other zooarchaeological information is reported beyond the frequency statistics listed here.

38 MacKinnon (supra n.18) 100.

39 Ibid. 153-59.

40 Ibid. 138.

41 Mazzorin, J. De Grossi and Minniti, C., “L'utilizzazione degli animali nella documentazione archeozoologica a Roma e nel Lazio dalla preistoria recente all'età classica,” in Troccoli, L. Drago (ed.), Il Lazio dai Colli Albani ai Monti Lepini tra preistoria ed età moderna (Rome 2009) 5354 Google Scholar.

42 Increased pork consumption and ‘Roman identity’ are often viewed as interconnected concepts (King [supra n.22] 169-71; MacKinnon, M., “High on the hog: linking zooarchaeological, literary and artistic data for pig breeds in Roman Italy,” AJA 105 [2001] 649–73)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, especially within the Roman Italian setting.

43 See MacKinnon, M., “Pack animals, pets, pests, and other non-human beings,” in Erdkamp, P. (ed.), The Cambridge companion to ancient Rome (Cambridge 2013) 125–27Google Scholar, for discussion in the case of Rome. At Ostia there are many rooms (and perhaps more particularly rooms within horrea) that could potentially house animals, either temporarily or for longer stretches.

44 Meiggs (supra n.1) 51-64.

45 MacKinnon (supra n.18) 140; De Grossi Mazzorin and Minniti (supra n.41) 53.

46 A general lack of evidence for private cooking facilities among Roman urban households presupposes the importance of tabernae in furnishing food and drink not only to permanent residents but also to travellers and day-laborers. Cf. DeLaine, J., “The commercial landscape of Ostia,” in MacMahon, A. and Price, J. (edd.), Roman working lives and urban living (Oxford 2005) 2947 Google Scholar; Kieburg, A. Z., “Roman tavern life - remarks on the remains of taverns in Ostia Antica,” in Aygün, C. (ed.), SOMA 2007. Proc. XI Symposium on Mediterranean Archaeology, Istanbul 2007 (BAR S2190; Oxford 2009) 457–61Google Scholar. Nonetheless, a useful study of Ostian domestic kitchens shows that these were far more common than once thought, but had been tidied away under the drive to present a suitably imperial city for Mussolini's 1941 exhibition: see Riva, S., “Le cucine delle case di Ostia,” Meded 58 (1999) 117–28Google Scholar. All the ground-floor units in the Insula dei Dipinti had kitchens, including Room 35, as did the first floor in the House of Jove and Ganymede in its later phase (I owe this reference and information to J. DeLaine).

47 Meiggs (supra n.1) 266.

48 MacKinnon (supra n.18) 84-85, 110-11 and 147-48.

49 Meiggs (supra n.1) 266.

50 The fulling industry at Ostia is discussed at length by Flohr, M., The world of the fullo. Work, economy and society in Roman Italy (Oxford 2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Zooarchaeological evidence can assist with reconstructions of sheep and goat husbandry schemes that may link to the economics behind wool production, but it is unlikely that fulleries (which deal with wool and garments) would contain any significant quantities of animal bones from slaughter or the processing of carcasses.

51 MacKinnon (supra n.18) 103-5.

52 For Rome, see De Grossi Mazzorin and Minniti (supra n.41).

53 Kiesswalter, L., Skelettmessungen an Pferden als Beitrag sur theoretischen Grundlage der Beurteilungslehre des Pferdes (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Leipzig 1888)Google Scholar.

54 Vitt, V. O., “Loshadi Pezyryksich kurganov,” Sovetskaja Archeologija 16 (1952) 109–26Google Scholar.

55 MacKinnon (supra n.18) 70-72.

56 Ibid. 190-92.

57 Meiggs (supra n.1) 267.

58 Mazzorin, J. De Grossi, “État de nos connaissances concernant le traitement et la consommation du poisson dans l'Antiquité, à la lumière de l'archéologie. L'exemple de Rome,” MEFRA 112 (2000) 155–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar; id. and Minniti (supra n.41) 57.

59 Zooarchaeological work at Rome notes a similar assemblage skewed heavily towards the bones of cattle at via Sacchi: Mazzorin, J. De Grossi and Coppola, F., “L'analisi dei resti faunistici nel quadro delle strategie di allevamento e alimentazione nella Roma imperiale,” in Filippi, F. (ed.), Horti et sordes. Uno scavo alle falde del Gianicolo (Rome 2008) 410–19Google Scholar. This deposit, which dates to the 1st c. A.D., contained c.70% cattle by NISP count, the bulk of which were elements from the lower leg. The assemblage may relate to bone-working operations but nonetheless denotes the degree of specialization and compartmentalization within animal-processing activities.

60 MacKinnon (supra n.18) 184. Our understanding of livestock markets at Ostia is conjectural. One possibility is the campus of the Magna Mater.

61 Meiggs (supra n.1) 82-83.

62 Ibid. 83-101.

63 Boin, D., Ostia in late antiquity (Cambridge 2013) 8388 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

64 Ibid. 124-39.

65 Gering, A., “Plätee und Straßensperren, Zum Funktionswandel Ostias in der Spätantike,” RömMitt 111 (2004) 299382 Google Scholar.

66 King (supra n.22) 173.

67 MacKinnon (supra n.18) 120-31.

68 Ibid. 84-85 and 92.

69 MacKinnon, M., “Cattle ‘breed’ variation and improvement in Roman Italy: connecting the zooarchaeological and ancient textual evidence,” WorldArch 42 (2010) 5573 Google Scholar.

70 MacKinnon (supra n.42) 656-58.

71 MacKinnon (supra n.18) 153-59.

72 Limited textual references allude to Laurentine woods: e.g., Mart. 9.48.5; Plin., , Ep. 2.17 Google Scholar.

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