chapter  7
17 Pages

Beyond the wild, the feral, and the domestic: lessons from prehistoric Crete

ByKerry Harris, Yannis Hamilakis

Type ‘Minoan’ Crete or ‘Minoan civilization’ (the societies of Crete in the third and second millennium bc ) in any Google search, and some of the fi rst images you will get depict animals, either on their own, or interacting with humans. It is through animal imagery to a large extent that this cultural formation has become known worldwide, ever since its archaeological discovery or rather archaeological remake and constitution at the start of the twentieth century. The bull-leaping scenes from Knossos, for example, or the bull’s head rhyta (vessels thought to have been used for libations) often embody Minoan-ness as a whole. To a large extent, it is animals that have constructed and popularized the image of ‘Minoan’ Crete in modernity. We will argue in this chapter that in prehistory too it was the intricate entanglement of humans with other animals (along with things and environments) that co-shaped the ‘Minoan phenomenon’. Moreover, such interaction cannot be easily confi ned within the ‘wild’, ‘domestic’, and ‘feral’ categories, and it offers in fact some compelling evidence for the problematic effects of these categorizations.