Sunday 22 January 2023

Archaeozoology of Cat Migration in Europe

Until recently, we thought cats spread to northern Europe from the Mediterranean in Late Antiquity, around the 3rd to 7th century AD. That still holds true for many parts of the continent, but advances in zooarchaeology in the last 20 years have complicated that picture. We now know that there was an earlier influx via Asia Minor into the Balkans, and further north, that seems to have preceded it. We now know that domesticated cats were present in Serbia and Poland around 6000 BC. This pushes back the arrival in Europe of one of humanity’s earliest companion animals by several thousands of years ('The great European house cat migration', The Big Think Jan 22, 2023).

For further details, see the interdisciplinary study called “Five-Thousand Years of History of Domestic Cat in Central Europe”, a holistic project at the Centre of New Technologies at the University of Warsaw, involving paleogenetics, archaeozoology, and radiocarbon dating.

Hat tip @notesfrompoland

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