Zooarchaeology (the archaeology of animals)

Module code: AR3017

Animal bones are ubiquitous archaeological finds and it is well recognised that their detailed study can shed light on a diverse range of past human activities including: 

  • Diet
  • Hunting and farming strategies
  • The use of animals and animal parts in craft and industry
  • Attitudes to animals (including pet keeping)
  • The symbolism of animals

This module offers a practical introduction to the study of animal bones from archaeological sites (archaeozoology or zooarchaeology) as a means of exploring the relationships between human societies and animals in the past. Each session consists of a lecture on particular aspects of archaeozoological methodology and interpretation. You will spend the rest of your time in the lab, working on bone remains from archaeological sites, and learning the skills of a professional archaeozoologist.

Topics covered

  • Species and skeletal part identification
  • Ageing and sexing
  • Measuring
  • Identifying butchery and taphonomic modifications
  • Recognising disease 
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