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Nature des offrandes animales du puits de Piazza Della Vittoria à Syracuse (milieu du IIe siècle av. J.-C.) : étude archéozoologique

Pietro VILLARI

fr Anthropozoologica 11 - Pages 9-30

Published on 01 March 1990

An archaezoological Study of the Animal Offerings in the Well of Piazza della Vittoria at Syracuse (mid 2nd Century B.C.)

The faunal remains of Piazza della Vittoria in Syracuse come from a sacred well (bothros) of the second century B.C. The well is situated in the area of the temples of Demeter and Persephone, which were destroyed by the Carthaginians in the fourth century B.C. Near the bothros is a small altar; it is debatable whether or not this demonstrates the worship of the two divinities two centuries after the destruction of the sanctuary. The archaeozoological study has shown the presence of numerous remains of pigs and ovicaprines (mostly sheep) with smaller quantities of cattle bones; there are also few finds of deer and donkey, one offish and a shell. Details are given of the percentages of skeletal parts for each species, the age classes, the slaughter techniques and the signs of suming. Calculations are given of the quantities of utilisable meet withers heights and sexual dimorphism in the sheep. The study shows that the well contained the remains of offerings connected with worship of chtonian divinities and perhaps also with purification rituals. The bones seem to be the remains of dishes that were prepared for ritual banquets. They were thrown in the well as if it were a sacred store. Thus the archaeozoological study does not reject the hypothesis of continuation into the roman period of the worship of Demeter and Persephone in the area that had been sacred to the two divinities since the fifth century B.C.

Keywords :

Sacred well, Mid 2nd Century B.C., Syracuse, Roman Animal Offerings, Cult of Demeter and Persephone, Thesmophoria.

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