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Accueil > Publications > Dernières publications

Paper by Pascale Dollfus (CEH)

Published in the Proceedings of the 39th Antibes International Encounters in Archeology and History : HUMANS AND CAPRINES - From mountain to steppe, from hunting to husbandry, which took place on 16-18 October 2018

Edited by Lionel Gourichon, Camille Daujeard, Jean-Philip Brugal and published by Éditions APDCA, Antibes, 2019

Representation, uses and symbolism of the ibex in Ladakh, a Himalayan region on the borders of Central Asia and Tibet


In Ladakh the ibex is by far the most represented animal on petroglyphs. Hunted using a bow and arrow, then the rifle, it was – until a ban on hunting in 1978 – much sought after as game both by local populations and by Western travellers under British rule : the former appreciated its tasty flesh while the latter collected it as trophies. An auspicious animal associated with fertility, the ibex occupies, among Ladakhi fauna, a prominent place on a symbolic level ; its horns are to be found on altars dedicated to local deities, songs sing its praise, dances portray it, dough figurines shaped like it are offered at the birth of a child just as they are at wedding ceremonies and to welcome the New Year after the winter solstice.

Keywords : Ladakh, ibex, archaeology, hunting, ritual
- Full text of Pascale’s paper (in French)

Information about these International Encounters

The 39th Antibes International Encounters in Archeology and History focused on the topic of the Human-Caprine relationship in prehistoric and historical times. Within a diachronic and multidisciplinary approach, zooarchaeologists, paleontologists, ecologists, taphonomists, ethnologists, anthropologists, archaeologists and historians gathered to sketch and illustrate the history of this long and close relationship through this ambitious topic : “Humans and Caprines : from mountain to steppe, from hunting to husbandry”. The interactions between Humans and Caprines starts well before the domestication, since the lower Palaeolithic, in the rocky Eurasian regions. From the Neolithic onwards, the domestication of some species (sheep, goat) played a crucial role in the socio-economic changes in the Near East, Europe and Africa, and transformed the landscapes through pastoralism till the present time and on all continents. Through subsistence practices, from predation to domestication, as well as through a large variety of dimensions : social, economic, biological, ecological, iconographic and symbolic, this volume deals with this particular group of ungulates, the Caprines, and their exploitation sensu lato by human groups.

- Introduction to the International Encounters, Contents of the Proceedings and Pascale’s paper (in French)