Traps and snares

Traps, pits, snares and lassos were all employed in the hunt. Caesar, speaking of German hunting methods, alludes to the capture of the wild aurochs by digging pits into which the animals fell and were trapped.107 Martial refers to the use of boar-traps, which lessened the danger to hunters.108 Modest hunting, perhaps undertaken by peasants rather than the aristocracy, both for food and to protect the crops, seems to have been particularly dependent upon snares, lassos and traps.109 All these methods are depicted on the rock art of the Iron Age Camunians. Some scenes show aquatic or marsh-birds caught by snares and then dispatched with a spear or axe. The Camunians set snares for small animals, like fox and hare, and the dogs would often do the rest.110 The negative evidence of archaeology is reflected in the rock art, in that fishing is rarely depicted by the Camunian communities. But there are a few carvings which record the catching of fish using harpoons or traps.111

Figure 3.11 Stone statue of a hunter-god with knife, hound and hare, Romano-Celtic date, Touget, Gers, France. Height: 75cm. Paul Jenkins

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