Roberto Miccichè is an osteoarchaeologist and registered forensic anthropologist at the Court of Palermo. He has a B.A. in Archaeology and a Master in Forensic Science from the University of Palermo. Currently is a Ph.D. candidate at the Philologisch-Historische Fakultät (Klassische Archäologie) at Augsburg University.
Since 2017, Roberto is an adjunct lecture (Laboratory of Archaeozoology) at the Department of Culture e Società at the University of Palermo. He is also a Courtesy Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Digital Exploration (IDEx), Department of History at the University of South Florida.
As an archaeologist and osteoarchaeologist, Roberto has more than fifteen years of professional field experience and is involved in numerous archaeological projects based in Sicily in collaboration with different academic institutions. His research in archaeology is connoted by a strong interdisciplinary attitude, which includes the application of CT scan technologies for 3D imaging and geometric morphometrics analysis. Currently, he is working on a project aimed to investigate the role of animals in ancient Greek rituality.
PhD research project abstract
THE ZOOARCHAEOLOGY OF ANCIENT GREEK SANCTUARIES IN SICILY - Zooarchaeology and Biotaphonomy as Evidence of the Different Treatment of the Animals for Ritual Purposes
The faunal remains are among the most frequent materials recovered in every archaeological excavation. Despite this ubiquity, the systematic use of zooarcheology in classical archeology is relatively recent. Indeed, it is on the wave of the vehement theoretical debate that will lead to the affirmation of processual archeology in the 70s and 80s of the last century that the zooarcheological investigations began to contribute actively in the formulation of synthesis models in classical archaeology.
Turning to the sphere of ancient Greek religion, we can perceive the full potentiality of faunal analysis. Religion played a central part in the social life of the ancient Greeks. These rites were performed in many different ways but often had as a common denominator the use of animals as sacrificial offerings and food for sacred meals. This paradigm makes the zooarcheological datum fundamental in providing a better and more complete reconstruction of the socio-religious interactions that took place within the ancient communities of Greek culture. Despite the presence of numerous outstanding sacred sites, Sicily still shows a lack of zooarchaeological researches addressed to the study of the ancient Greek rituality.
My project is mostly aimed to fill this gap, providing new fresh data on the human/animal interaction connected to ancient rituality. The core of the study takes into consideration a vast osteological sample deriving from the excavations of three of the overriding Western Sicilian sanctuaries, dating from the Archaic to the Hellenistic period.
The first faunal assemblage comes from the recent excavation of the peri-urban sanctuary of S.Anna at Agrigento, and is currently composed of almost 7700 bones and bone fragments. The second faunal assemblage object of analysis consists of more than 20,000 remains, originating from the southern sector of the main urban sanctuary of Selinunte. The third comes from the peri-urban sanctuary of Malophoros at Selinunte, where excavations have been recently carried out.
The research adopts a multidisciplinary approach, which means that besides traditional zooarchaeological analysis, including species ratio, age at death, body parts representation, I will mainly rely on a taphonomic investigation, giving particular attention to the histological analysis of bone. I will also attempt to clarify the relationship between patterns of microbial attack on bones and different ways of processing animals for ritual purposes (burning, cooking, and butchering).