Evidence of ancient feast found at Corinth
|Cattle jawbones found in Corinth. Only about a tenth of the bones in the theater have been recovered [Credit: Michael MacKinnon]|
"What I think that they're related to are episodes of big feasting in which the theater was reused to process carcasses of hundreds of cattle," MacKinnon told LiveScience. He presented his research Friday (Jan. 4) at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Seattle.
From theater to butcher shop
A theater may seem an odd place for a butchery operation, MacKinnon said, but this particular structure fell into disuse between A.D. 300 A.D. and A.D. 400. Once the theater was no longer being used for shows, it was a large empty space that could have been easily repurposed, he said.
|The western section of the ruined theater where the bones were discarded and found [Credit: Michael MacKinnon]|
"Some of the skeletal materials were even partially articulated , suggesting bulk processing and discard," MacKinnon said.
|Archaeologists pulled a metric ton of cattle bones from an ancient Corinth theater, perhaps representing yearly feasts in the 4th and 5th centuries AD [Credit: Michael MacKinnon]|
"These do not appear to be tired old work cattle, but quality prime stock," MacKinnon said.
It's impossible to say how quickly the butchering episodes took place, MacKinnon said, though it could be on the order of days or months. The bones were discarded in layers, likely over a period of 50 to 100 years, he said.
|Bones from Corinth laid out for sorting and analysis [Credit: Michael MacKinnon]|
"What goes around comes around, so maybe we'll do it this year and next year, it's the neighbor's turn to do it," MacKinnon speculated. "Neighborhoods might sponsor these kinds of things, so people do it to curry favor."
|A cattle skull found in the Corinth bone deposit. Most of the bones were from cows [Credit: Michael MacKinnon]|
"Maybe there are some special pots, or maybe we'll find big communal cauldrons or something," he said. "Something that gives a material record of a celebration."
Author: Stephanie Pappas | Source: LiveScience [January 09, 2013]