The Minoan lion: Presence and absence on Bronze Age Crete
Andrew Shapland World Archaeology 42.2 (2010): 273-289.
Περίληψη (στα Αγγλικά)
Animal depictions are frequently treated by archaeologists either as direct reflections of human-animal relations or as symbolic of social realities. This paper offers a different way of conceptualizing animal depictions, as objects which mediate between society and human relationships with non-human animals. The focus here is on the large number of lions depicted on sealstones from Bronze Age Crete, despite there being no evidence (excluding the depictions themselves) that lions were present on Crete during this period. This paper examines how these depictions change over the course of the Bronze Age, and suggests links between iconographic features and knowledge of, and encounters with, real lions. It considers the interplay between the affordances of lions revealed in the depictions, as dangerous predators, and the affordances of the objects, as a means of social interaction. The Minoan lion is an animal which is neither reducible to its iconographic manifestations nor possible to understand apart from a network of material culture.