Oxford Handbook of Zooarchaeology - Oxford University Press

Editors: Umberto Albarella with Mauro Rizzetto, Hannah Russ, Kim Vickers & Sarah Viner-Daniels
Publication Date: 2016

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A plethora of zooarchaeology publications is currently available, and the output is constantly growing. This is excellent, and a good indication of the vibrancy of the field. However, there is no volume that summarises the current state of the discipline. The fourteen volumes published by Oxbow (with UA a series co-editor) as part of the proceedings of the 2002 conference of the International Council of Archaeozoology come closest to such an aspiration. Rather than a coherent coverage of the discipline strategies and developments the series reflects the thematic interests of the organisers of the sessions held during the conference. The proposed volume will be wide-ranging but with a much tighter focus, particularly in terms of structure. It will have a number of interconnected aims:

  • To provide zooarchaeologists with the opportunity to reflect on the state of their own discipline by consulting a single source that will provide comprehensive – though inevitably not completely exhaustive – coverage of its approaches, methods, research questions and international trends and interests.
  • To provide archaeologists, anthropologists, researchers and enthusiasts of numerous related disciplines with a snapshot of the potential of zooarchaeology to address research questions that can be of interest beyond the boundaries of any single discipline.
  • To provide any of the above potential readers with a compact reference tool regarding zooarchaeological research activities in different parts of the world, in different periods and on different themes.
  • To provide a valuable and unique bibliographic tool for higher education teaching in many countries
  • To achieve these objectives the contributors will be asked to write in a style that is academic but also accessible to archaeologists and others who are not experts in zooarchaeology as well as to a potentially non-native English readership. Jargon will be avoided and contributions will include – where appropriate - maps, figures and any other visual aids that can contribute to make the book more engaging, accessible and user-friendly.

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The book chapters will be organised around three main factors/variables:

  • Geography (for example Carpathian Basin, Arabian Peninsula, Sudan, Patagonia, Polynesia)
  • Chronology (from Palaeolithic to the modern period)
  • Themes (such as herding, fowling, trade, social status)

Methods and techniques will not determine the structure of individual chapters, though they will contribute to all of them. There are several zooarchaeology manuals in existence that explain the basic methods of zooarchaeology and it is not the aim to replicate them. The Handbook will, however, present the variability of approaches adopted by zooarchaeologists, but more in terms of case studies and applications to specific research questions, rather than as exhaustive methodological explanations. Evidence emerging from more recently developed approaches, such as isotopic or genetic analysis, will be integrated with the rest of the evidence, rather than presented separately. The same will be the case for ethno-archaeology, which will only be used as an aid to address specific archaeological questions.

Case studies will be interpreted in their more general geographic and cultural context. In this way the reader will be provided with both evidence of cutting-edge research but also with a sense of the zooarchaeological evidence for that particular area/period. While, on the face of it, animal bone studies may appear to most commonly address economic questions of husbandry and food production, these human- animal relationships are inherently tied in to the culture and ideology of individuals and communities in every time period and region of the world. Therefore, this volume will explore the full scope of these relationships inclusive of, and beyond economic models based on the zooarchaeological evidence from each region.

Structure and ContributorsBirdcoll small

FOREWORD - Peter Bogucki (US)

PREFACE - Umberto Albarella


Chapter 1. Zooarchaeology in the 21st century: where we come from, where we are, and where we are going - Umberto Albarella


Chapter 2. Humans and mammals in the Upper Palaeolithic of Russia - Mietje Germonpré and Mikhail V. Sablin

Chapter 3. The zooarchaeology of complexity and specialisation during the Upper Palaeolithic in Western Europe: changing diversity and evenness - Katherine Boyle

Chapter 4. Mesolithic hunting and fishing in the coastal and terrestrial environments of the eastern Baltic - Lembi Lõugas

Chapter 5. Archaeozoological techniques and protocols for elaborating scenarios of early colonisation and Neolithisation of Cyprus - Jean-Denis Vigne

Chapter 6. Zooarchaeological results from Neolithic and Bronze Age wetland and dryland sites in the Central Alpine Foreland: economic, ecologic and taphonomic relevance - Jörg Schibler

Chapter 7. Zooarchaeology in the Carpathian Basin and adjacent areas - László Bartosiewicz

Chapter 8. Sheep, sacrifices and symbols: animals in Later Bronze Age Greece - Paul Halstead and Valasia Isaakidou

Chapter 9. Changes in lifestyle in ancient Rome (Italy) across the Iron Age/Roman transition: the evidence from animal remains - Jacopo De Grossi Mazzorin and Claudia Minniti

Chapter 10. Zooarchaeology of the Scandinavian settlements in Iceland and Greenland: diverging pathways - Konrad Smiarowski, Ramona Harrison, Seth Brewington, Megan Hicks, Frank J. Feeley, Céline Dupont-Hébert, Brenda Prehal, George Hambrecht, James Woollett and Thomas H. McGovern

Chapter 11. Fishing, wildfowling and marine mammal exploitation in northern Scotland from prehistory to Early Modern times - Dale Serjeantson

Chapter 12. Zooarchaeological evidence for Moslem improvement of sheep (Ovis aries) in Portugal - Simon J. M. Davis

Chapter 13. The zooarchaeology of Medieval Ireland - Finbar McCormick and Emily Murray

Chapter 14. Animals in urban life in Medieval to Early Modern England - Terry O’Connor

Chapter 15. From bovid to beaver: mammal exploitation in Medieval north-west Russia - Mark Maltby
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Chapter 16. The emergence of livestock husbandry in Early Neolithic Anatolia - Joris Peters, Nadja Pöllath and Benjamin S. Arbuckle

Chapter 17. Patterns of animal exploitation in western Turkey: from Palaeolithic molluscs to Byzantine elephants - Canan Çakırlar and Levent Atici

Chapter 18. South Asian contributions to animal domestication and pastoralism: bones, genes and archaeology - Ajita K. Patel and Richard H. Meadow

Chapter 19. The zooarchaeology of Neolithic China - Li Liu and Xiaolin Ma

Chapter 20. Subsistence economy, animal domestication and herd management in prehistoric central Asia (Neolithic - Iron Age) - Norbert Benecke

Chapter 21. Introduction of domestic animals to the Japanese archipelago - Hitomi Hongo

Chapter 22. Farming, social change and state formation in south-east Asia - Charles F. W. Higham

Chapter 23. The zooarchaeology of early historic periods in the southern Levant - Justin E. Lev-Tov and Sarah Whitcher Kansa


Chapter 24. Middle and Later Stone Age hunters and their prey in southern Africa - Ina Plug

Chapter 25. Pastoralism in sub-Saharan Africa: emergence and ramifications - Diane Gifford-Gonzalez

Chapter 26. Cattle, a major component of the Kerma culture (Sudan) - Louis Chaix

Chapter 27. The zooarchaeology of Iron Age farmers from southern Africa - Shaw Badenhorst

Chapter 28. The exploitation of aquatic resources in Holocene West Africa - Veerle Linseele

Chapter 29. Animals in Ancient Egyptian religion: belief, identity, power and economy - Salima Ikram

Chapter 30. Animals, acculturation and colonisation in Ancient and Islamic North Africa - Michael MacKinnon

Chapter 31. Historical zooarchaeology of colonialism, mercantilism and indigenous dispossession: the Dutch East India Company’s meat industry at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa - Adam R. Heinrich


Chapter 32. Zooarchaeology of the pre-Contact Northwest coast of North America - Gregory G. Monks

Chapter 33. Fauna and the emergence of intensive agricultural economies in the United States south-west - Rebecca M. Dean

Chapter 34. 13,000 years of communal bison hunting in western North America - John D. Speth

Chapter 35. Advances in hunter-gatherer research in Mexico: archaeozoological contributions - Joaquín Arroyo-Cabrales and Eduardo Corona-M

Chapter 36. The exploitation of aquatic environments by the Olmec and Epi-Olmec - Tanya M. Peres

Chapter 37. Tracking the trade in animal pelts in early historic eastern North America - Heather A. Lapham

Chapter 38. Animal use at early colonies on the south-eastern coast of the United States - Elizabeth J. Reitz

Chapter 39. Zooarchaeology of the Maya - Kitty F. Emery


Chapter 40. Zooarchaeological approaches to Pre-Columbian archaeology in the neotropics of north-western South America - Peter W. Stahl

Chapter 41. Zooarchaeology of Brazilian shell mounds - Daniela Klokler

Chapter 42. Camelid hunting and herding in Inca times: a view from the South of the empire - Guillermo L. Mengoni Goñalons

Chapter 43. Forests, steppes and coastlines: zooarchaeology and the prehistoric exploitation of Patagonian habitats - Luis A. Borrero


Chapter 44. Pleistocene adaptations in tropical rainforest environments in Island Melanesia - Matthew Leavesley

Chapter 45. Behavioural inferences from Late Pleistocene aboriginal Australia: seasonality, butchery and nutrition in south-west Tasmania - Richard Cosgrove and Jillian Garvey

Chapter 46. Regional and chronological variations in energy harvests from prehistoric fauna in New Zealand - Ian Smith

Chapter 47. Spatial variability and human eco-dynamics in central-east Polynesian fisheries - Melinda S. Allen

METHODOLOGICAL GLOSSARY - Mauro Rizzetto and Umberto Albarella

Acknowledgements: The production of this volume was made possible thanks to funding from a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, awarded to Umberto Albarella for the 2014-15 academic year.