Cattle Bones at Corinth

It doesn’t get any more exciting than a heap of cattle bones.

I stumbled upon this story by accident yesterday when I checked a twitter feed, but might have seen the full academic talk on the subject had I attended the AIA last weekend.

The story that hit Discovery News yesterday, “Heap of Cattle Bones may Mark Ancient Feasts,” is a summary of a paper about the enormous volume of animal bone recently discovered and documented in the theater at Corinth. We covered the preliminary report about these finds a little over a year ago. Nice to see the study developing so quickly.

Here’s the opening from yesterday’s article:

“A metric ton of cattle bones found in an abandoned theater in the ancient city of Corinth may mark years of lavish feasting, a new study finds.

The huge amount of bones — more than 1,000 kilograms (2,205 pounds) — likely represent only a tenth of those tossed out at the site in Peloponnese, Greece, said study researcher Michael MacKinnon, an archaeologist at the University of Winnipeg.

‘What I think that they’re related to are episodes of big feasting in which the theater was reused to process carcasses of hundreds of cattle,’ MacKinnon told LiveScience. He presented his research Friday (Jan. 4) at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Seattle.”

Read the rest here.

This research is important not only for what it says about the state of the theater in the 4th century AD, but its implications for our understanding of ritual feasting in Late Roman Corinth.


  1. The room went out of use in the 4th century CE. The bones were tossed in later. In the summer we worked out the quarter pounder burger equivalency. I think it was 180,000 burgers.

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