Companions in eternity. The historical practice of burying pets

Main Article Content

Arianna Vanni https://orcid.org/0009-0001-3162-7696
Roberta Fusco

Keywords

Hypogeal cemetery, Human-animal relationships, Animal burial, Companion animal

Abstract

In the underground cemetery of Santa Maria Maggiore in Vercelli, the recovering of an ossuary chest unveiled the remains of a cat, together with human remains of some individuals of a noble family. The practice of burying pets has deep historical roots, offering insights into the intricate relationship between humans and their animal companions. The presence of the cat in the caisson, which dates before the establishment of cemeteries dedicated to domestic animals in Italy, raises questions about the meaning of this deposition. Despite incomplete data, we can hypothesize that the cat was intentionally translated from a previous burial.

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