Cats were the sacrifice of choice
Spanish farmers were killing and skinning cats bout 1,000 years ago in Spain in what is suspected to be “magical” pagan ritual.
A new study has found evidence of skinning at the El Bordellet archaeological site in eastern Spain.
Nine pits that likely held crops from medieval farms. A number of these pits held bones from sheep, goats, cattle, pigs, dogs and horses. According to CBS But one was weird because it contained more than 900 domestic cat bones. One such bone was carbon dated to about A.D. 970 to 1025. The region was Christian
Several clues led the archaeologists to conclude that the cats were likely skinned. The number, angle, intensity and location of the cut marks and fractures seen on the bones were consistent with those seen in prior experiments where researchers skinned a variety of animals.
The cats were nine to 20 months old when they died.
Study lead author Lluís Lloveras, a zooarchaeologist at the University of Barcelona said that it is possible that the skins were basically used for making garments, mainly coats,” as well as collars and sleeves.
But other indications suggest a magical pagan rite. Other animal remains uncovered alongside the feline bones included a whole horse skull, a goat horn fragment and a chicken eggshell. Not the sort of things which should be there if you just want to make a fur coat.
“All these particular animal remains have been associated with ritual practices in the Middle Ages as well as in later times, ” Lloveras said. This suggests a ritual, or a ritual alongside the fur trade.
In 1999 study in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology found a partial cat skeleton buried with several hens underneath a wall from the late-15th to early-16th centuries in England, perhaps as part of a commemorative ritual during construction, he said.