This book is one of a series of more than 20 volumes resulting from the World Archaeological Congress, September l986. The series is the result of an attempt to bring together not only archaeologists and anthropologists from many parts of the world, as well as academics from contingent disciplines, but also non-academics from a wide range of cultural backgrounds who could lend their own expertise to the discussions at the Congress. The series addresses world archaeology in its widest sense, investigating how people lived in the past and how and why changes took place, resulting in the forms of society and culture which exist today. This book derives from discussion on the theme of cultural attitudes to animals, including birds, fish and invertebrates. It is an exploration of the way in which the animal world features in the works of art of a variety of cultures of different times and places. Contributors have adopted a variety of perspectives for looking at the complex ways in which past and present humans have interrelated with beings they classify as animals. Some of the approaches are predominantly economic and ecological, some are symbolic and others philosophical or theological. All these different views are included in the interpretation of the artworks of the past, revealing some of the foci and inspirations of cultural attitudes to animals. Style and meaning are examined; how style should be defined and interpreted and how material culture objects have "meanings" are central questions in the interpretation of symbolism and material culture in general, as well as being related to power and control in several complex societies.
The book is richly illustrated with black and white photographs, graphic drawings, maps and twenty-five colour plates.