The Archaeology of Cats and Dogs
Taught by Patty Hamrick
Patty Hamrick has an M.A. in Archaeological Anthropology from New York University. She has worked on excavations across Europe, Asia, and North America, including India, Cyprus, and Syria. She loves bringing her passion for the past to new people. You can follow her on twitter, @pluperfectpatty.
While many animals today face the threat of extinction, the numbers of dogs and cats are only climbing. They’ve tagged along at humanity’s heels since the Ice Age, an important part of our quest for world domination. But how did they evolve from wild predators into pampered pets?
This class will explore the long and fascinating history of cats and dogs. Did you know that dogs are the world’s first domesticated animal? Or that cats probably domesticated themselves – and are still mostly wild today? We’ll study the DNA of wolves and wildcats to learn when and where our constant companions were first introduced to our homes. We’ll trace their spread across the globe through fossils and footprints. We’ll look at Egyptian mummies, Roman mosaics, Aztec temples, and Chinese tombs to see how different cultures have treated these two fascinating species. We’ll even investigate the origin of some of today’s most popular breeds – was your furry friend originally raised to hunt rats or to fit inside a royal lady’s sleeve?
They’ve been gods and guards, food, witch’s familiars, hunters, pack animals, sacrifices, and much, much more – the only constant has been their important place by human’s side. Come learn about the archaeology of cats and dogs: it might surprise you!
images courtesy: By Martin Bahmann (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons and By WolfgangRieger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons