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The Spirited Horse: Human-equid relations in the Bronze Age Near East


This project investigates human-animal relations in the ancient Near East, with equids (horses, donkeys and horse-donkey hybrids) as the main focus, and with an understanding of animals as social actors. The data used includes the material culture of the Bronze Age Near East in the form of archaeological contexts with equid remains (burials, sacred space, settlements and other contexts), supplemented by iconography, textual references and finds associated with equids, such as chariots and harnesses. The application of research from the interdisciplinary field of Human-Animal Studies enables a dynamic approach to human-animal interfaces where the agency of animals is recognised. This results in a new type of study of how humans encounter and interact with other animals, and how those animals in turn interacts with humans, with broader implications for human involvement with their environment, both today and in the past.
During the EF, the ER will receive training in archaeozoology, Akkadian and GIS techniques, along with methodological and practical skills that will enable the completion of the project and improve future career prospects. The project's interdisciplinary nature is expressed not only in its theoretical application, but also through engagement with modern equine venues, including veterinary clinics, sports centres, and therapeutic centres (with horses and donkeys either being treated or supporting in the treatment of humans).
Dissemination and public engagement will occur in a wide range of areas, including academic papers and conference presentations, podcasts, a project website and social media pages, and participation in public events in Cambridge and abroad.


Net EU contribution
€ 183 454,80
Trinity Lane The Old Schools
CB2 1TN Cambridge
United Kingdom

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East of England East Anglia Cambridgeshire CC
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00