Monday, February 07, 2005

Oldest Known Pet Cat? 9,500-Year-Old Burial Found on Cyprus

Oldest Known Pet Cat? 9,500-Year-Old Burial Found on Cyprus
The carefully interred remains of a human and a cat were found buried with seashells, polished stones, and other decorative artifacts in a 9,500-year-old grave site on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. This new find, from the Neolithic village of Shillourokambos, predates early Egyptian art depicting cats by 4,000 years or more.

Finally found that cat article I was telling Ebbie about.

1 Comments:

At Sunday, February 20, 2005 4:20:00 PM, Blogger EB said...

Thanks! I had only read snippets about this, so it was great to be able to read a somewhat in-depth article about it. I thought it was pretty interesting that for once the archaeologists are speculating that something doesn't have religious importance, and were calling it simply a pet. I differ on this one. Dogs were domesticated to serve us as hunters and guarders. Cats have never served us, never will. They may be good mousers, but they are not terribly reliable in that sense.

So, I would argue that a cat who was buried with a human being would have had some kind of spiritual import. Perhaps it was a good mouser and kept the owner's house free of rodents, and a good companion. But I think if they went to the trouble to bury it- and apparently kill it to be buried with its owner- with grave goods along with the human, that points to something a little deeper than just pet status.

But who knows. I could be wrong. Consider this: there are far more people who have lived and died than exist on the planet right now. So there's a LOT under the earth we have yet to see- and probably never will. What archaeologists usually neglect to say is that they are speculating from horribly incomplete data. Data from specimens which have been ravaged by the elements for thousands of years. Hardly a smoking gun.

It's still a pretty cool find, however, and is a continuing trend that archaeologists are pushing back dates for all kinds of milestones in human development. We were far smarter far earlier than we've ever suspected. Hopefully that cleverness won't get us killed.

 

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