Nasia Makarouna

Supervisors: Professor Paul Halstead & Dr Jane Rempel

Email address:

PhD Title

Animals, People & Gods: Domestic, Civic & Sacred Consumption of Livestock in Hellenistic-Late Antique Messenia, Greece

Nasia Makarouna

PhD Abstract

Although cereals formed the staple diet of early historical Greece (8th c. BC-7th c. AD), meat had huge cultural and social significance. Participation in civic sacrifices was a right and duty of citizens and the proper distribution of sacrificial meat a key ideological principle. Ownership of livestock was a source and symbol of wealth, while pasture rights led to treaties and conflicts between cities. Our knowledge of animal husbandry and meat consumption, however, comes largely from literary or epigraphic texts (e.g. Chandezon 2003; 2015; Detienne & Vernant 1989; Hodkinson 1992; Schmitt-Pantel 2012) and images on marble reliefs or painted vases (e.g. Ekroth 2005; Tsoukala 2009), both biased towards Classical (5th-4th c. BC) Athens and the ideals of rich men. The evidence of animal bones, less restricted to elite ideals or particular periods and places, has largely been neglected, but can answer many questions. Did the meat consumed mainly come from sacrifices (with distinctive patterns of missing body parts) and did Christianity change this? Did meat become more available over time? Did the meat consumed (e.g. species, cuts) or its preparation (butchery traces) differ between civic and domestic contexts or between rich and poor? Do age-at-death and sex of sheep and goats suggest herds were intensively exploited for milk or wool before slaughter for meat? Do stress pathologies suggest yoking of female cows or male oxen, capable of small- and large-scale ploughing respectively? And do answers to these questions vary regionally?

I will address these questions by analyzing macroscopically animal bones from the SW Greek cities of Messene (4th c. BC-7th c. AD sacred, civic and domestic contexts) and Thouria (4th c. BC sacred and perhaps civic contexts); I have permission to study both assemblages. I will record data on body part, species, age, sex, size, butchery, fragmentation and depositional circumstances (gnawing, weathering, etc.), with which I am familiar from my MSc dissertation. I have assessed both assemblages first hand with Halstead: Thouria is small (ca. 4,000 identifiable specimens and rising) but will provide insight into sacrifice at a sanctuary with a sacrificial calendar inscription; Messene (30,000) is if anything too large to study in its entirety, so I will omit the most broadly-dated contexts. Tentatively, I expect to find that: much of the meat eaten was unconnected to sacrifice (based on present zooarchaeological data from sanctuaries); the influence of Christianity on sacrifice was gradual (given rare recent survivals); there was no long-term trend to more wasteful carcass use implying more abundant meat (given growing urban populations); any specialized management of sheep/goats for milk or wool/hair was late in date (given growing urban markets); and draught cattle were mainly cows at least in the earlier centuries (given written hints of growing estate size). These expectations, based on sparse data scattered widely in time and space, may be incorrect for Hellenistic-Early Byzantine SW Greece.



Greek Archaeological Committee UK scholarship 2016-2017

Student Roles

Student Roles

• Member of the organizing committee of the Tuesday Lunchtime Lectures Series (2016 - )

Further Roles

• Member of the Association of Cypriot Archaeologists (2015 - )

• Institute for Aegean Prehistory founded research assistant to Dr. Vaso Tzevelekidi at the Fitch Laboratory for Archaeological Science of British School at Athens, Greece (Oct. 3rd-Dec. 7th 2014).  Duties: Identifying and recording animal bones from Neolithic “Kleitos Kozanis”, northern Greece.


Teaching Experience

Teaching assistant to Prof. Paul Halstead for the first-year undergraduate archaeology students’ practical examination on “Animal and Human Bones” (18/10/2016)

Field Experience

Volunteer excavator for “Palaepaphos Urban Landscape Project” of Prof. Maria Iakovou of University of Cyprus (June 7th-20th 2010), investigating 2nd and 1st millennia BC urban landscape around sanctuary of Aphrodite at Kouklia village, Cyprus. Duties: excavation, recording, cleaning and cataloguing artefacts.
Participant in underwater excavation of Late Classical (mid 4th c. BC) “Mazotos shipwreck” by Dr. Stella Demesticha of University of Cyprus (May 25th-June 5th 2011). Duties: entering data into the project’s data base, sieving the excavation debris, cataloging of finds and writing the day’s logbooks.

Volunteer excavator at “House of Orpheus’’ Hellenistic-Roman villa, Paphos by Prof. Demetrios Michaelides of University of Cyprus (June 13th - July 1st 2011 and June 3rd-29th 2012). Duties: excavation, recording, drawing, photographing, cleaning and cataloguing artefacts and writing daily reports.

Volunteer cataloguing of artifacts from “The House of Orpheus” Hellenistic-Roman villa, Paphos by Prof. Demetrios Michaelides of University of Cyprus (June 12th-July 12th 2013).

Volunteer excavator at Neolithic “Kritou Marottou – Ais Giorkis”, Cyprus by Prof. Alan H. Simmons of University of Nevada (May 30th-June 26th 2015). Duties: excavation, recording, cleaning and cataloguing artefacts.

Volunteer excavator at “Ancient Thouria”, Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece by Dr. Xeni Arapogianni (Late summer 2015). Duties: excavation of an animal bone assemblage at the Hellenistic Temple of Asclepius.



• 2013-2014 MSc Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy (University of Sheffield) – Distinction
Dissertation title: Faunal remains from the Neolithic settlement of Avgi Kastorias, northwestern Greece

• 2009 -2013 BA History and Archaeology – Archaeology (University of Cyprus)