Animals in Ancient Material Cultures: Conference at the Allard Pierson Museum Amsterdam

Call for Papers:

Animals in Ancient Material Cultures

Conference at the Allard Pierson Museum Amsterdam

In the wake of recent interest on both sides of the Atlantic in the subject of Animals in Antiquity, papers are invited for an international conference to be held at the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam on 15 – 16 October 2015. Speakers from all disciplines are welcomed to present papers on the theme of Animals in Ancient Material Cultures, broadly from ca. 5000 BCE to 500 CE, from the Near East to Europe. The focus of the papers will be on representations of animals in the material world and visual evidence of archaeological objects and/or works of art. Speakers are encouraged to make ample reference to objects from the collection of the Allard Pierson Museum.

Animals have been part of everyday human life, imagination and religion, from prehistoric times to the present day. In antiquity many human pursuits, from ploughing the field to fighting on the battlefield, from consumption of food to sacrificing to the gods, relied on a symbiotic or interdependent relationship with animals. Animals were hunted or tamed, kept for entertainment or even worshipped. Visual material can offer important evidence as representations and illustrations of ancient ideas and attitudes about the animal world which surrounded them.

The Allard Pierson Museum, the archaeological museum of the University of Amsterdam, contains a vast repository of ancient representation of animals from the Near East, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Objects in the museum collection include animal mummies (of a falcon, a mouse, and even an eel); images of Egyptian gods in animal and semi-animal form (Bastet, Bes, Apis); representations of mythical creatures (sphinxes, griffins, centaurs) and exotic animals (elephants, lions); bronze or terracotta figurines (horses with riders, pet dogs); vases in animal shapes; utensils and furniture with decorative animal motives.

Abstracts of max. 500 words for 45-minute papers may be submitted to Branko van Oppen at by 30 June 2015. Decisions will be communicated within one month of the closing date. The contributions will be submitted to the newly launched Allard Pierson series for a combined publication.

The keynote speakers at the conference are Dr. S. Lewis (University of St. Andrews) and Dr. Ll. Llewellyn-Jones (University of Edinburgh). Other invited speakers include Drs. J. Mulder (curator Artis Library) and Dr. B.F. van Oppen (Allard Pierson Museum).