chapter  1
76 Pages

Prehistoric and Ancient Historic Interactions between Humans and Marine Turtles

A usual opening for descriptions about marine turtles is to announce proudly that they have been around for hundreds of millions of years, and have outlived even the dinosaurs. Our species, of course, has been on the planet for much less time, just a few hundred thousand years; commonly there has been a tacit assumption that interactions between these ancient reptiles and people have really only become significant in historic or contemporary times. The object of this chapter is to explore the antiquity and complexity of human-turtle relations by providing a summary

and synthesis of widely scattered information on prehistoric and ancient historic interactions between marine turtles and people in different societies, in different parts of the world. The information is grouped into three principal themes: zooarchaeology (or archaeozoology), cultural artifacts, and ancient textual accounts.