• latw-47-1
    “Table setting” from a ritual meal, including plate, cup (skyphos), pitcher (oinochoe), stew pot (chytra), iron knife (Nos. 42-46). (Photograph by Crawford H. Greenewalt, jr.)

Ritual Dinner immature canid bones

Date
Ca. 575-525 BC, Lydian
Museum
Manisa, Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum
Inventory No.
Material
Bone
Object Type
Miscellaneous
Site
Sardis
Sector
PN
Trench
PN
Description
“skeleton…almost complete. Missing (in 1974 examination by Fitzgerald and Trum) lumbar, sacral and some caudal vertebrae (three of the last present); some carpals, metacarpals, tarsals, metatarsals; portions of skull (no sagittal crest); baculum. Deciduous (milk) teeth erupted (Fitzgerald, Lawrence). Pelvis unfused (Fitzgerald). Color: ivory, Munsell 10 YR 8/2, 8/3; where worn, whiter” (Greenewalt 1978, 75). “In cd 26, the milk teeth are fully erupted; their enamel is white, and their roots fully formed. No actual wear facets are visible, but the condition of the cusp tips suggests slight wear. Tooth buds of P1 and M1 are visible, but still very small and far from ready to erupt; the alveolar openings are still restricted to small slits except for P1 sin, … whose alveolar opening has started to enlarge. Its age can be estimated in the range from one to three months; the lack of wear on the teeth and the relatively small size and very juvenile condition of the limb bones suggests an age at the early end of this range” (Payne in Greenewalt 1978, 23). Cut-marks were observed on the underside of the right occipital condyle and possible cut-marks on the right humerus shaft (Payne in Greenewalt 1978, 24).
Comments
Of five canid skeletons from the 26 dinners that were examined in the 1970s, No. 47 probably belonged to one of the older animals. Two of the others, perhaps all four of them, were not older than three-to-five weeks. Payne suggested (on the basis of comparison with milk-teeth size in jackals and wolves) that the animals “would have been dogs of medium or a little larger than medium size, weighing in the region of 15-20 kilograms at maturity” (Payne in Greenewalt 1978, 23); and he noted that the animal of No. 47 would have been rather large for its container, No. 42; it “would hardly have fitted into the pot unless at least skinned, gutted, and jointed, and even so might have been a fairly tight fit; it is of course possible that the puppies were cooked in a larger pot, and the jugs in which they were found were just containers for the remains (the report of some articulation observed in cd 24 is not at odds with this…” (slightly changed from Payne in Greenewalt 1978, 26). Cooking prior to deposit in chytra-shape containers would be consistent with the ordinary, i.e., non-cooking-ware fabric of many of the containers; but whether the animals had been cooked or not is unclear from their bones and associated debris.
Discussed
Greenewalt, “Bon Appetit”; Greenewalt, “Gods of Lydia”; Cahill, “City of Sardis”
Bibliography
Greenewalt 1978, 23, 24, 26, 75, no. cd 26.1a.
Author
CHG