Prof. Anthony King: ‘Sacred Flocks and Herds? The implications of animal sacrifice at Romano-Celtic temples’
This is a lecture about animals – the origins and husbandry of those that ended up as deposits of bones on Romano-Celtic temples in Britain and Gaul. The presence of animals at temples might seem straightforward: worshippers come to a temple with animals and after they are sacrificed, the bones, or at least, a selection of the sacrificed carcases, are deposited on the site. However, the title of this paper, with its question-mark after ‘sacred flocks and herds’, is an exploration of this deceptively simple picture, with two speculations as points of focus. One is that some temples maintained their own flocks and herds, in part because of their location away from settlements and population, so that they were an integral element of the temple economy. Secondly, that there are enclosures in the landscape around some of the temples, outer temene or areae which sometimes enclose many hectares, and that these are the spaces where these animals were kept, possibly temporarily before a festival or a similar event
Prof. Anthony King has been Professor of Roman Archaeology at the University of Winchester since 1997. He has excavated on many Roman sites in Britain, Italy and Gaul, including Hayling Island Iron Age and Romano-Celtic temple, Monte Gelato Roman villa, Meonstoke Roman villa, Dinnington Roman villa and Yarford Roman villa. He is an editor of Hampshire Studies, member of the Fontes Epigraphici Religionum Celticarum Antiquarum (FERCAN) project, and author of Roman Gaul and Germany (1990), Coins and Samian Ware (2013), and many papers on Roman diet and zooarchaeology. He is also a guide lecturer for Andante Travels, to sites in Gaul, Germany, Italy, Spain and North Africa.