Undergraduate Course: The archaeology of animal remains (ARCA10084)
|School||School of History, Classics and Archaeology
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The aim of this course is to introduce students to the study of animal remains from archaeological sites, covering practical aspects, analytical methods, data acquisition, and interpretative potential. Students will receive instruction in comparative skeletal anatomy and will gain practical experience identifying and analysing vertebrate remains. They will develop understanding of the ways in which animal remains can contribute to the study of archaeological sites and past human societies, with case studies drawn from diverse global regions and periods to illustrate techniques and major debates in zooarchaeology.
This course introduces students to the study of animal remains from archaeological sites. Students will be introduced to the key zooarchaeological methods applied to animal remains, from their excavation to laboratory analysis and data interpretation. Students will receive instruction in comparative skeletal anatomy and will gain practical experience identifying and analysing vertebrate remains. They will develop understanding of the ways in which animal remains can contribute to the study of archaeological sites and past human societies, for example through studies of taphonomy, environmental reconstruction and modes of human exploitation of animals, and be able to evaluate the nature and quality of this evidence. Case studies will be drawn from diverse global regions and periods to illustrate techniques and major debates in the subject, and demonstrate key insights into the evolution of human-animal relationships through zooarchaeological study.
1. Introduction: zooarchaeology and vertebrate anatomy
2. Classification and identification of animal remains
3. Excavation, sampling and recovery
4. Recording and quantification
5. The development of the mammal skeleton: bone and tooth growth
6. Metrics and morphology: analyses of bone size and shape
7. Taphonomy and understanding contexts and sites
8. Animal disease and pathology
9. Environment and ecology
10. Identification of non-mammal remains
11. Animal remains and interdisciplinary scientific approaches (followed by identification test)
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
|Prohibited Combinations|| Students MUST NOT also be taking
Practical Zooarchaeology (PGHC11459)
||Other requirements|| Pre-requisites: Archaeology 2A and 2B, or Honours entry to degrees in Classics, or equivalent.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students should have at least 3 Archaeology courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses. Enrolments for this course are managed by the CAHSS Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department. All enquiries to enrol must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 11,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
1500 word critique of a selected zooarchaeological methodology (25%)
2500 word written zooarchaeological report (synoptic and contextualised report of material studied in all laboratory sessions) (50%)
Practical (in-class) examination:
In-class timed test of animal bone identification (25%)
||Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organisers during their published office hours or by appointment.
Ongoing informal feedback will be given on lab books (not assessed) during practical sessions to give students guidance on best practice and develop understanding to feedforward into their assessed work (critique and report).
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge of analytical methods in zooarchaeology
- Demonstrate command of the body of knowledge considered in the course
- Demonstrate critical understanding of the issues surrounding the investigation and interpretation of past human-animal relationships
- Demonstrate the ability to assess zooarchaeological evidence and data and integrate it into wider archaeological analysis
|Albarella U and Trentacoste A (eds.) 2011, Ethnozooarchaeology. The present and past of human-animal relationships. Oxford: Oxbow Books.|
Baker P and Worley F 2014, Animal Bones and Archaeology: Guidelines for Best Practice. Swindon; English Heritage.
Bartosiewicz L and Gál E 2013, Shuffling Nags, Lame Ducks: The Archaeology of Animal Disease. Oxford: Oxbow.
Davis S J M 1987, The archaeology of animals. London: Batsford.
Driver J C 2011, Identification, classification and zooarchaeology. Ethnobiology letters, 2, pp.19-39.
Lyman R L 1994, Vertebrate Taphonomy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
O'Connor T P 2000, The archaeology of animal bones. Stroud: Sutton.
O'Connor T P 2003, The analysis of urban animal bone assemblages: a handbook for archaeologists, The Archaeology of York 19,2, York.
Reitz E and Wing E 1999, Zooarchaeology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Rowley-Conwy P 2000, Animal Bones, Human Societies. Oxford: Oxbow Books
Russell N 2011, Social Zooarchaeology: Humans and Animals in Prehistory. Cambridge University Press.
Sykes N 2014, Beastly Questions: Animal Answers to Archaeological Issues. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||On successful completion of the course, students should be able to:
- gather and critically assess relevant information
- extract key elements and meanings from complex data sets
- develop a reasoned argument, support it with relevant evidence, and communicate it appropriately and persuasively
- present their ideas and analyses in a coherent fashion
|Keywords||Arch animal remains
|Course organiser||Dr Robin Bendrey
Tel: (0131 6)50 9110
|Course secretary||Mrs Ksenia Gorlatova
Tel: (0131 6)50 8349