Camels in Antiquity: Roman Period Finds from Slovenia

By Bartosiewicz, Laszlo; Dirjec, Janez | Antiquity, June 2001 | Go to article overview

Camels in Antiquity: Roman Period Finds from Slovenia


Bartosiewicz, Laszlo, Dirjec, Janez, Antiquity


Introduction

In what was never intended to be the first article in a series, Morales Muniz et al. (1995) offered a review of dromedary finds from Iberia. A summary of camel remains in Hungary (Bartosiewicz 1996) soon followed. Recently, two additional sites have yielded camel bones, for the first time, in Slovenia. This region between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, served as a corridor connecting the Apennine Peninsula with the Danube Basin. Camel finds from here contribute to the geographical patterning of Roman Period camels in Central Europe (FIGURE 1).

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Distinctions between the one-humped dromedary (Camelus dromedarius) and the two-humped Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) are instructive in identifying, at least lato sensu, the geographical origins of these animals: present distributions of southern (Arabian/African) dromedary and northern (Central Asian) Bactrian camel overlap in the broader Caspian region (Caucasus and Kazakhstan; Mezhlumian 1988).

Site histories and find circumstances

Characteristically, both sites are located along the Roman road between Aquilea (present-day Italy) and Ljubljana--Emona (Ulbert 1981: 5, Abb. 2). This offers a gross taphonomic explanation for the discovery of these otherwise rare finds. Many beasts of burden, whether used by civilians or the military, were probably buried on the roadside rather than in kitchen middens. Such deposits, however, are of relatively little interest to the archaeologist, since they tend to be heavily disturbed and dispersed. In spite of their scarcity, however, camel finds can contribute multi-faceted information on ancient Roman life.

1 Ajdovscina--Casta lies on a brink of the Vipava river valley in Slovenia, where the road begins to climb through Hrusica--Ad Pirum toward Logatec--Longaticum in the northeast. It was a 1st-2nd-century AD post station, fortified during the 3rd century to become a military outpost. The settlement was abandoned shortly after AD 400, following the AD 394 victory of Theodosius over the usurper Eugenius.

Ajdovscina--Casta was excavated by the Office for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage in Nova Gorica (Slovenia) between 1984 and 1999 under the direction of N. Osmuk. The analysis of animal bones is in progress. Among the numerous animal remains, three teeth from a camel jaw (identified by JD) were found in 1986 and 1992. They came to light from a deposit post-dating fortification work at the settlement around AD 270. Two of the teeth were heavily fragmented, while a first and chipped second molar came to light attached to a left mandible fragment (FIGURE 2).

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

2 Hrusica--Ad Pirum was a fort located half-way down the Ajdovscina--Casta to Logatec-Longaticum section of the same Roman road. It guarded an important pass through the Julian Alps among the Claustra Alpina Iuliarum, built along the limes between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea. Military activity in the Eastern Alps had intensified by the end of the 2nd century. The victory of Theodosius marked the end of this fort as well. Medieval finds start occurring in greater numbers at this site from a time after 1200 (Ulbert 1981: 41-2).

Hrusica--Ad Pirum was excavated by the National Museum in Ljubljana and the University of Munich during the 1970s. Apparently, only the most `spectacular' 343 bones were saved in those days. This led to an overrepresentation of resistant teeth (n=110, i.e. 32%), characteristic antler and horn core fragments (n=8, i.e. 2.3%) and measurable bones (n=111, i.e. 32%) in the material. These would be very high proportions for these skeletal parts in ordinary settlement refuse. Fortunately, three camel remains (Bartosiewicz 1999a) also fell within these preferred categories, although there is little direct information on the stratigraphic position, i.e. chronological affiliation of these bones. A lower left canine tooth (FIGURE 3) and an anterior proximal phalanx (FIGURE 4) came to light in Sondage XVII Planum 4, while the precise provenance of a proximal radiocubitus fragment (FIGURE 5) is unknown. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Camels in Antiquity: Roman Period Finds from Slovenia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.