Friday, February 19, 2021

One Off Journal Issues: Special Issue "Animals in Ancient Material Cultures (vol. 2)"

Special Issue "Animals in Ancient Material Cultures (vol. 2)"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752). This special issue belongs to the section "Visual Arts".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (4 December 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Branko F. van Oppen de Ruiter Website
Guest Editor
1. Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Ancient History, University of Groningen, 9700 AS Groningen, The Netherlands
2. Former Visiting Research Scholar and Curator, Allard Pierson Museum, University of Amsterdam, 1012 GC Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Interests: Ptolemaic history; Hellenistic queenship; iconography; ideology; syncretistic religion; animals in antiquity; museum archaeology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Chiara Cavallo Website
Guest Editor
Senior Lecturer, Amsterdam Centre for Ancient Studies and Archaeology, University of Amsterdam, 1012 WX Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Interests: zooarchaeology; human–animal relations; animal remains; archaeology; Romanization; subsistence strategies; ecology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ever since the Neolithic domestication, animals have been part of everyday human life, imagination, and religion. In antiquity, many human pursuits, from plowing the field to fighting on the battlefield, from consumption of food to sacrificing to the gods, were shaped by, and relied upon, a symbiotic or interdependent relationship with animals. Animals were hunted or tamed, kept for entertainment or even worshipped. Material culture provides important evidence as representations and illustrations, expressions and mediations of ancient ideas and attitudes about, as well as experiences and interactions with the animal world which surrounded them. Iconographic representations may, for instance, reflect social status as much as religious practices. Such imagery can offer visual clues for the dissemination of animal husbandry as well as for beliefs in mythic creatures.

The theme of this Special Issue, “Animals in Ancient Material Cultures”, broadly includes the Mediterranean world and the Near East, from ca. 10,000 ʙᴄᴇ to 500 ᴄᴇ (although exceptions in period or region may be considered). Approaching this subject from a broad chronological and geographical perspective allows the contributors to focus on a specific region, period, animal, and/or creature. Papers may draw on (zoo-) archaeological, physical, visual, and/or cultural material to examine the dispersal and exchange, appropriation, and acculturation of practices and beliefs. This Special Issue aims to bring together specialists from different fields of expertise, including but not limited to art history, ancient history, classics, classical archaeology, and zooarchaeology. Proposed subjects comprise topics such as pastoralism, human–animal relations, iconography, and cultic practices.

The principle purpose of the first volume is to bring together a collection of invited papers associated with two separate conferences on animals in antiquity held at the University of Edinburgh (25–28 June 2014) and at the Allard Pierson Museum (15–16 October 2015). For this second volume, contributions on the same subject, Animals in Ancient Material Cultures, are welcome through open submission. To reiterate, while the focus is on the ancient Mediterranean and Near East, excursions to other periods or regions will be considered. Articles may be anywhere in size between 5000 to 25,000 words and should be submitted before 31 July 2020.

Dr. Branko F. van Oppen de Ruiter
Dr. Chiara Cavallo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • animals
  • antiquity
  • material culture
  • animal–human relations
  • iconography
  • art history
  • ancient history
  • classics
  • zooarchaeology
  • archaeology

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Fit for the Job: Proportion and the Portrayal of Cattle in Egyptian Old and Middle Kingdom Elite Tomb Imagery
Arts 2021, 10(1), 13; - 07 Feb 2021
Depictions of the natural world are an intrinsic feature of Egyptian visual culture, with the vast array of imagery documenting animals a testimony to the fundamental role they played. Despite the significance of animals in Egypt, an anthropocentric bias still exists in research [...] Read more.
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals in Ancient Material Cultures (vol. 2))
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Open AccessArticle
On a Wing and a Prayer: Ibis Mummies in Material Culture at Abydos
Arts 2020, 9(4), 128; - 14 Dec 2020
The production of millions of artificially mummified animals by the ancient Egyptians is an extraordinary expression of religious piety. Millions of creatures of numerous species were preserved, wrapped in linen and deposited as votive offerings; a means by which the Egyptians communicated with [...] Read more.
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals in Ancient Material Cultures (vol. 2))
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Open AccessArticle
Inverted Worlds, Nocturnal States and Flying Mammals: Bats and Their Symbolic Meaning in Moche Iconography
Arts 2020, 9(4), 107; - 21 Oct 2020
Bats are depicted in various types of media in Central and South America. The Moche of northern Peru portrayed bats in many figurative ceramic vessels in association with themes of sacrifice, elite status and agricultural fertility. Osseous remains of bats in Moche ceremonial [...] Read more.
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals in Ancient Material Cultures (vol. 2))
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Open AccessArticle
Parts and Wholes: The Role of Animals in the Performance of Dolenjska Hallstatt Funerary Rites
Arts 2020, 9(2), 53; - 26 Apr 2020
There is a rich iconographic tradition demonstrating the importance of animals in ritual in the Dolenjska Hallstatt archaeological culture of Early Iron Age Slovenia (800–300 bce). However, the role of animals in mortuary practice is not well represented iconographically, though faunal remains [...] Read more.
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals in Ancient Material Cultures (vol. 2))
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Open AccessArticle
Lovely Ugly Bes! Animalistic Aspects in Ancient Egyptian Popular Religion
Arts 2020, 9(2), 51; - 17 Apr 2020
The popular yet demonic guardian of ancient Egypt, Bes, combines dwarfish and leonine features, and embodies opposing traits such as a fierce and gentle demeanor, a hideous and comical appearance, serious and humorous roles, an animalistic and numinous nature. Drawing connections with similarly [...] Read more.
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals in Ancient Material Cultures (vol. 2))
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