Archaeozoology

Archaeozoology refers to the study of animals, primarily, but not exclusively, from archaeological contexts. The primary goal of archaeozoological research is to shed light on the relationships between humans and animals and the consequences of these interactions for both humans and their environment. For example, animal bone remains from butchery or cooking activity; rock paintings that illustrate hunting strategies; or hoof impressions as evidence of herd migrations all provide data for the archaeozoologist. More recently DNA analysis of animal bone, lipid analysis of dairy or adipose fat residues in vessels, and stable isotope studies of human and animal diet have expanded this repertoire.

At the Penn Museum, archaeozoological research focuses primarily on the study of livestock-keeping communities, both ancient and modern. Areas of study include Harappan period sites in Gujarat, northwestern India; early medieval farming communities in Ireland, northwestern Europe; and prehistoric and modern pastoralists in Kenya, East Africa. Ongoing ethnozoo-archaeological research in Kenya encompasses ethnographic inquiry among the Maasai, on traditional strategies of livestock and range management (1990–2002), complemented in 2002/03 by preliminary archaeological survey of early pastoral settlements in Laikipia District.

e-mail: Kathleen Ryan


Facilitating Milk Let-down in Traditional Cattle Herding Systems: East Africa and Beyond

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