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Cynophagia in the Púchov (Celtic) Culture Settlement at Liptovská Mara, Northern Slovakia

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Abstract

This paper deals with the remains of butchered dogs from the La Tène and Early Roman sites in northern Slovakia. A large settlement revealed at Liptovská Mara was inhabited by the Celtic tribe of Cotini, representing the so-called Púchov culture. The long-term excavation of the site has yielded one of the largest collections from that time in Slovakia. During archaeozoological analysis, the skeletal remains of dogs were identified. Interestingly, a large portion of the specimens represent the cranial skeleton, and the majority of mandibles bear distinctive marks of butchery. On the basis of their placement and similar characteristics, the authors conclude that they resulted from tongue-removal procedures. Moreover, their frequent occurrence clearly supports the idea of the use of dog flesh at the site. The authors argue that cynophagia occurred mainly for economic reasons; however, it might also have been part of the rituals documented in the sanctuary of Liptovská Mara. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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