May 22, 2024  
2020-2021 Catalogue 
2020-2021 Catalogue [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ARCH 21909 - Fundamentals of Zooarchaeology

Course Credit: 1
FUNDAMENTALS OF ZOOARCHAEOLOGY  Whether as pets, food, or adversaries, animals have always played a critical role in human societies. How do we study human-animal relationships in the past? Zooarchaeology is the study of animal bones from archaeological sites. Zooarchaeologists can investigate a range of issues, from human subsistence strategies, to ritual practices, to paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic reconstructions. This is contingent upon reliable identification and interpretation of animal remains from archaeological sites; and this is the focus of this hands-on course. This class is divided into three parts. The first part of the class consists of lectures that explore the history and fundamentals of zooarchaeology, and labs in which you will learn to recognize the skeletal anatomy of different classes of vertebrates, including: mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles. In the second part of the class you will learn the basic methods of bone identification, recording, and quantification, while working with a number of real and mock archaeological bone collections toward a problem-oriented research project. The third and final part of the class explores the analytical and interpretative aspects of zooarchaeology using case studies. Topics will include taphonomy; foraging practices; animal domestication; culinary practices, dietary taboos and food preparation; inclusion of human in ritual and funerary activities; and the use of animal remains in reconstruction ancient environments and climates.