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Food, foe, friend: animals play all these roles, and more, in their relationship to humans, in the past as well as the present. This course will explore how zooarchaeology — the study of animal remains (bones, teeth, and shells) — allows us to reconstruct ancient human-animal-environmental interactions. We will cover a range of topics and analytical techniques, including hands-on sessions for the identification and quantification of faunal remains.

TTh 2:30-3:50

Instructor: Suzanne Pilaar Birch 


Syllabus 

Download the PDF version here: 
Document IconAnimals in Archaeology Spring 2013 Final Syllabus.pdf



ARCH 1775 Animals in Archaeology

Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:30-3:50


Instructor: Dr. Suzanne Pilaar Birch

Email: Suzanne_Birch@brown.edu

Phone: (401) 863-2306

Office Hours: Wednesdays 2-4 and by appointment

Office: Rhode Island Hall 210


TA: Thomas Leppard
Email: Thomas.Leppard@googlemail.com

Office Hours: Thursdays 12:30-2:30

 

Course Description

 

Food, foe, friend: animals play all these roles, and more, in their relationship to humans, in the past as well as the present. This course will explore how zooarchaeology — the study of animal remains (bones, teeth, and shells) — allows us to reconstruct ancient human-animal-environmental interactions. We will cover a range of topics and analytical techniques, including hands-on sessions for the identification and quantification of faunal remains.


Assessment


Assignments are diverse because this course aims to not only provide an introduction to the many roles animals played in past human societies, but also to familiarize you with the physical skeletal remains of animals, giving you practical skills for the identification of animal bones from archaeological contexts.


Regular attendance and participation in class discussions are an important component of the class and you are expected to attend all classes unless you have a valid reason.

Books and Course Materials

Only Reitz & Wing is required. Lyman and Hillson are recommended. These three books are available at the campus bookstore and all books below have been put on 24-hour reserve in the Rock. Other readings will be available on the private forum of the course wiki, [link]

You will also need calipers and a hand lens for the practicals-these can be purchased online.

Additional Information

Student and Employee Accessibility Services Please inform me if you have a disability or other condition that might require some modification of any of these course procedures. You may speak with me after class or during office hours. For more information contact Student and Employee Accessibility Services (SEAS) at 401-863-9588 or SEAS@brown.edu

Libraries Our subject librarian is Ian Straughn (Ian_Straughn@brown.edu). You can contact him with any research or library-related questions.

Schedule

Week 1: Introduction to Animals in Archaeology

01/24 Lecture An introduction to the archaeology of animals

Week 2: From Life to Beyond Death: Taphonomy of Animal Remains I

01/29 Lecture Natural & cultural deposition (site formation processes)

01/31 Practical The vertebrate skeleton

Week 3: From Life to Beyond Death: Taphonomy of Animal Remains II

02/05 Lecture Natural & Cultural Bone Modification

02/07 Practical Identifying Bone Modification

Week 4 Scavenging, Hunting and Husbandry: Economic Considerations

02/12 Lecture Theory, ethnoarchaeology, and practice in reconstructing foodways

02/14 Practical Identifying Wild Animals

Week 5 Gathering and Recording Faunal Data

02/19 **NO CLASS**

02/21 Practical Creating faunal datasets   

Week 6 Domestication

02/26 Lecture Domestication

02/28 Practical Identifying Domestic Animals

Week 7 Pastoralism and Agricultural Lifestyles

03/05 Lecture Ageing and Population Structure: Meat, Milk and Secondary Products

03/07 Practical Ageing and Sexing Animal Bones

Week 8 Feeding Cities

03/12 Lecture Imports, exports and economics

03/14 Practical Butchery and Utility Curves

Week 9 Biomolecular Approaches

03/19 Lecture Zooarchaeology andStable Isotope Analyses

03/21 Lecture Zooarchaeology and Ancient DNA


 PAPER DUE

Week 10 Spring Break

Week 11 Biomolecular Approaches II

04/02 Guest Lecture Speaker TBA

04/04 Practical Working with datasets/reconciling osteological and biomolecular data

Read selected articles depending on practical option (distributed in lecture):

Week 12 Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction

04/09 Lecture Another story: the value of microfauna in zooarchaeological studies

04/11 Practical Small Mammals, Birds, and Fishes

Week 12 The Seasonal Round

04/16 Lecture “To Everything There is a Season”: The seasonal use of animals in prehistory and antiquity and its implications for human mobility

04/18 Practical Identifying markers of seasonality

Week 13 Feast and Famine

04/23 Lecture Archaeological evidence for feasting and ritual use of animals

04/25 Practical Faunal assemblages from recovery to interpretation

04/30 Revision Session

          BONE REPORT DUE

5/10 FINAL EXAM 9AM.




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