Recent Advances in the study of the Ancient Mediterranean: Dr Veronica Aniceti

Data: 24/02/2021
Hora: 18 h CET
Organitza: ICAC, GIAP Research Team

New webinar series ‘Recent Advances in the Study of Ancient Mediterranean’, managed by GIAP researchers.

They reflect on their current research interests and aim to provide examples of leading research that open up new horizons in landscape, computational and palaeoenvironmental archaeology, and bioarchaeology.

Session#1 will be hold next Wednesday, 24th February, 2021, at 18 h CET.

‘Animals and their roles in the medieval society of Sicily: from Byzantines to Arabs and from Arabs to Norma/Swabians (7th – 12th/13th c. AD)’

Dr Veronica Aniceti, University of Rome Tor Vergata (Italy).

Webinar will be held online, at this link

GIAP webinars#1



This presentation aims to highlight how zooarchaeology can contribute to our understanding of the medieval history of Sicily and how this can also help in gaining a better insight of the broader mechanisms of cultural exchange, transmission and replacement, as well as the co-existence of different ethnic identities.

In detail, a number of faunal samples recovered from different site-types and dated to the medieval period in Sicily are analysed and compared. Zooarchaeological results reveal significant changes in the use of the main domesticates in the Byzantine-Arab and in the Arab-Norman/Swabian transitional periods.

In the Arab period, the socio-cultural effects of the Islamisation of the island are attested by an overall dearth of pigs at most urban sites. By contrast, similarly to the Byzantine period, pigs continue to be represented at contemporary rural settlements, thus suggesting a higher resilience of rural communities toward the newly imposed socio-cultural and religious rules. Sheep become larger in Arab times; such phenomenon was likely driven by an interest to maximise outputs from caprine husbandry, and can be seen as part of the ‘Arab Green Revolution’.

During the Norman/Swabian rule, changes in dietary practices with the previous period are noticed. Although caprines maintain an important economic role, pigs are again present at urban and military sites; such result might be an indicator of an ongoing ‘de-Islamisation’ of the island. At the same time, a further improvement of sheep size indicates a continuity in the Norman/Swabian period of animal husbandry strategies initiated by the Arabs.


Zooarchaeology, medieval Sicily, Islam, food prohibition, sheep increase in size.