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From the same journal

From the same journal

Both subject and object: herding, inalienability and sentient property in prehistory

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Publication details

JournalWorld Archaeology
DatePublished - 23 Apr 2010
Issue number2
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)188-200
Original languageEnglish


This paper advocates a social approach to domestic animals in prehistory, one which situates herding practices in their (human) social context while also recognizing the status of animals of social beings in their own right. Domestic animals, it is argued, represent sentient property in the sense that, despite being incorporated as 'objects' into property relations between humans they remain subjects whose social world overlaps with that of humans. This tension between the status of domestic animals as subject and as object is played out in highly context-specific ways, being linked both to human social organization and to material/geographical aspects of herding practices. These ideas are used to develop a model for the role of cattle in a process of social change that took place during the later Neolithic Vinča period in the central Balkans.

    Research areas

  • Domestication, Enchainment, Human-animal relations, Neolithic herding, Vinča

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