Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Beglane,F.; Jones,C.
Journal Of Archaeological Science-Reports
Hares, juvenile domesticates, structured deposition, and ritual in the Neolithic court tomb at Parknabinnia, Ireland
Optional Fields
Hare Dog Domesticate Neonate Fertility ritual Neolithic Megalith Ireland Contextual taphonomic analysis
The occurrence of animal remains in human mortuary assemblages presents problems of interpretation. Are they post-depositional natural inclusions or are they evidence of deliberate ritual practices? This study uses a contextual taphonomic approach to analyse a remarkable faunal assemblage from a Neolithic megalithic tomb in Ireland. The Parknabinnia court tomb (Cl. 153) is located in the karstic limestone region known as the Burren, resulting in exceptional bone preservation. The excavation yielded substantial quantities of human and animal bone, with the faunal assemblage consisting of over 2000 identified specimens, and dominated by hare (Lepus timidus hibernicus). Dating of these bones shows them to be contemporary with the human remains in the tomb. This study found evidence for the deliberate deposition of both partly dismembered and whole hares in the tomb, as well as the inclusion of young animals of various other species in the deposits. These findings are interpreted as likely to be the result of rituals concerned with fertility and this is supported by a review of folklore associated with hares and other lagomorphs.
Grant Details
Publication Themes
Humanities in Context