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22 February 2018

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The Donkey in Human History: An Archaeological Perspective

Congratulations to Professor Peter Mitchell, whose book, The Donkey in Human History: An Archaeological Perspective, has been published by the OUP!

Donkeys are one of the least studied of all domestic animals, consigned to the margins of history like so many of those who still depend upon them in their daily lives. Probably the first animals that people rode, as well as the first used on a large-scale as beasts of burden, they were associated with kingship and the gods in the ancient Near East, a link perpetuated when one carried Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and Muhammad used another to summon his companions to him. But as well being symbolically significant, donkeys have been (and in many places still are) a core technology for moving people and goods, supplying muscle power to thresh and grind grain, press olives, raise water, plough fields, and pull carts, to name just some of the uses to which they have been put. Spanning the globe and extending from the donkey’s initial domestication to the present, The Donkey in Human History resituates donkeys and their offspring, the mule, in the unfolding of human history, looking not just at what they did, but also at how people have thought about and understood them.

You can buy the book here.

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