Zooarchaeology Short Courses

Sheffield has a long history of zooarchaeology teaching and research, and today it is home to one of the largest and most active zooarchaeology research teams in the world. Our members work throughout the UK and Europe as well as contributing to projects in America, Asia and Africa, and have research interests that span the period from the Palaeolithic to the recent past.

Registration for the September 2017 courses will open soon on this page

Understanding Zooarchaeology II

Exploring Palaeoenvironments

Understanding Zooarchaeology II & Exploring Palaeoenvironments

11-13 September 2017 14-15 September 2017 11-15 September 2017
Book online now Book online now Book online now

Understanding Zooarchaeology II

Zooarch Skull

The Understanding Zooarchaeology II short course has previously run twice, receiving excellent feedback. This year the course will last three days, and will be ideal for those who already have a basic knowledge of Zooarchaeology and want to learn more.

The aim of this advanced course is to give participants direct experience in analysing and recording faunal assemblages from archaeological sites. It will also provide participants with experience in practising with the most specialized issues of the discipline such as identification of sheep from goat and deer from cattle.

Sessions include brief theoretical lessons, followed by dedicated practical activity. During the practical activities and the recording assemblage practical session, several specialist and expert zooarchaeologists will supervise the class, in order to provide participants with experience of the whole range of knowledge and skills required by the discipline. Case-studies are included and a special session of ‘question and answers’ will serve to sum up the day and clarify doubts.
At the end of the three days, participants are encouraged to write a zooarchaeological report based on the material analysed during the course, which will receive a feedback from an expert zooarchaeologist.

Understanding Zooarchaeology II is suitable for anyone who has already attended our Understanding Zooarchaeology I course, or who already has a basic knowledge of zooarchaeological methods.

Provisional Programme

Day 1

Sheep vs Goat 

Distinguish sheep from goat + practical session


Distinguish red deer from cattle, and roe deer from sheep/goat + practical session


Exploring in detail bone modification + practical session


Why is it worth using biometry? + practical session

Day 2

Recording an assemblage



Identification of the most common birds in archaeological assemblage + practical

Recording an assemblage

Practical session

Question and answer

Day 3


Identification of the most common carnivores in archaeological assemblage + practical session

Recording an assemblage

Practical session

Writing a report/data analysis

How to analyse and elaborate the data from the recording assemblage sessions

Understanding Palaeoenvironments

Zooarch short course

The Exploring Palaeoenvironments short course runs for the second time this year and is the result of the joint efforts of zooarchaeologists, archaeobotanists and geoarchaeologists from our department.

The geological evidence and the organic remains recovered from archaeological sites are complementary indicators of the environmental conditions faced by past communities; when these indicators are thoroughly analysed and integrated, they have the potential of providing a detailed reconstruction of the environment and landscape in which people lived and moved.

The course will introduce participants to the different approaches and types of analyses employed by specialists of these related sub-disciplines. Each session will include theoretical lectures and case-studies; in addition, practical classes will provide direct experience of handling, analysing and interpreting the material evidence that archaeologists usually deal with.  The Exploring Palaeoenvironments short course is directed to students, professionals and enthusiasts alike and does not require any previous knowledge of the disciplines covered.

Provisional Programme

Day 1


Making sense of the landscape: geoarchaeological approaches

Investigating human interactions with the landscape: vegetation reconstruction

Pollen analysis

Charcoal analysis

Practical classes:

Geoarchaeology practical

Introduction to pollen and charcoal analyses: sampling, identification and interpretation

Day 2


Wild animals, their habitats and evidence for climate changes

The microfauna as an indicator of environmental conditions

Birds as environmental indicators: opportunities and limitations

Isotope analyses in archaeobotany and zooarchaeology

Practical classes:

Analysis and interpretation of microfauna remains from owl pellets

Interpretation of bird bone assemblages

Cancellations and refunds

Refund requests should be made by email to zooarch-shortcourse@sheffield.ac.uk, no less than 7 days before the start of the course. We will endeavour to fill the course place, and in the event that a replacement is found a full refund will be made. If a replacement cannot be found a refund of 50% of the course fee will be made for cancellations made more than 7 days before the start of the course. No refund will be made for cancellations made less than 7 days before the course start date. At the discretion of the course organisers, and in exceptional circumstances, participants that are unable to attend can defer their enrolment until the next Zooarchaeology short course.
If you are experiencing any difficulty please contact us as early as possible.