MODULE DESCRIPTION 2017-2018


AUTUMN SEMESTER 20 CREDITS



AAP317 ARCHAEOZOOLOGY



CO-ORDINATOR: UMBERTO ALBARELLA
OTHER TUTORS: ANGELOS HADJIKOUMIS


MODULE OUTLINE

Archaeozoology (or Zooarchaeology) is the study of past human interaction with animals through the analysis of their material remains. This module provides a practical introduction to the identification, analysis and interpretation of animal bones from archaeological sites. Practical skills are developed through group laboratory work, concentrating on mammals but also touching on other classes of vertebrates. Methodological and theoretical issues in archaeological interpretation are discussed in the classes in combination with the hands-on work. The course culminates in a project report, which reconstructs animal exploitation through the analysis of ageing and biometrical data.


BROAD ACADEMIC AIMS AND PRINCIPLES OF THE UNIT

This module aims to:
• provide students with an understanding of what archaeozoology is and what is its relationship with other disciplines;
• clarify the archaeological questions to which archaeozoology can provide a contribution;
• discuss and apply methods and techniques commonly used in archaeozoology;
• gain an understanding of the basic issues relevant to archaeozoological interpretation;
• discuss some of the key aspects of the past relationship between people and animals.


MEASUREABLE LEARNING OUTCOMES

By the end of this module students should be able to:
• acquire an understanding of the potential insights into the human past to be derived from archaeozoological studies of animal bones;
• develop practical skills in approaching the study of animal bone assemblages;
• become familiar with the processes of formation of the archaeological record and with the methods by which problems of partial preservation, partial recovery, etc., may be overcome in excavation or in post-excavation study;
• acquire the capacity for critical evaluation of archaeological interpretations of animal bone evidence;
• develop basic analytical and interpretive skills for inferring past human action from archaeozoological remains;
• become familiar with the use of elementary descriptive statistics in the analysis of archaeozoological data


PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT SKILLS ACQUIRED

Ability to plan and present research projects; collecting original data, analysing and critically evaluating research data; participating in group discussion


STUDENT ATTENDANCE AND INDEPENDENT STUDY

Type Hours
Practicals with incorporated lecturing element 33
Independent/Group Study (including preparation for assessments) 167


ASSESSMENT

Method % of marks Length / words
Mid Term (in-class  bone test) 40%
End of Term 60% 2000


EXAMPLE LECTURE/SEMINAR TITLES

  • What is archaeozoology? Fusion of epiphyses and anatomical identification of postcranial bones
  • Species frequency and occurrence. Taxonomic identification of postcranial bones
  • Identification of teeth and preliminary information on eruption and wear. Horncores and antlers
  • Butchery, burning and gnawing. Pathological conditions
  • Bone test to be done in class
  • Recording of tooth eruption and wear and its archaeological potential
  • Mandibular age stages and the construction of mortality curves
  • Biometry and its potential
  • Background to and structure of project report
  • Taxonomic and body part quantifications
  • Fishes, amphibians, reptiles and birds