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Birds in everyday life and art in Bulgaria (Thracian and Roman periods)

Zlatozar Boev

30 May 2018 · volume 27 · pp. 3–39 · PDF [full text]

Abstract: This paper presents and analyses for the first time all data on the presence of birds (bone finds; 26 sites; 84 species/genera) and their images in the art works (34 sites; 40 species/genera) from monuments of the ancient Thracian and Roman lands in Bulgaria (2200 BC–4th c. AD), their utilisation and importance. Data of a total of 96 taxa of 29 families and 18 orders are presented. Different aspects of the use of birds have been considered: hunting, domestication, falconry, decorative faunisation, including secondary use (as a source of bone material for the production of tools and adornments). The main groups of birds (waterfowl, eagles, pigeons, peacocks, etc.) and their symbolic mythological significance are presented. The images of some monuments represent exotic birds (purple swamphen, Egyptian goose, ring-necked parakeet, helmeted guineafowl, Abyssinian lovebird, African green pigeon, spur-winged goose) which are now spread beyond the former Roman Empire (and Bulgarian) lands, mainly in East Africa. Their present ranges overlap only in the region of East Africa. They confirm ancient trans-Saharan Roman-‘Ethiopian’ contacts.

Keywords: Birds in antiquity, ancient art, birds-man interrelations, Late Holocene birds, ornithoarchaeology

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