Ravens and crows in Iron Age and Roman Britain

Serjeantson, D. and Morris, J. (2011) Ravens and crows in Iron Age and Roman Britain Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 30, (1), pp. 85-107. (doi:10.1111/j.1468-0092.2010.00360.x).


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The raven and crow skeletons from Danebury are re-examined, taking into account their taphonomy, their context and the associated finds. Raven and crow burials from other Iron Age and Roman sites are surveyed, again with a discussion of their context and associated finds where these could be ascertained. Taken together, the evidence makes it clear that most if not all were deliberate burials, often at the base of pits. We demonstrate how interpretations of such burials have changed, with zooarchaeologists initially proposing functional explanations and archaeologists readier to accept that the burials were deliberate. We go on to argue that the unique character of ravens and crows, including their tolerance of humans, their scavenging habits, and their voice, led to their playing an important role in Iron Age and Roman rites and beliefs.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1111/j.1468-0092.2010.00360.x
ISSNs: 0262-5253 (print)
Keywords: raven, crow, iron age, roman britain, pit deposits
Organisations: Archaeology
ePrint ID: 342286
Date :
Date Event
26 January 2011e-pub ahead of print
February 2011Published
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2012 13:45
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 16:41
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/342286

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