What is Zooarchaeology?

Analytical Tools

  • DNA analyses identify origins and trace the movement of domesticated livestock across time and space.
  • Residues analysis can identify specific uses of animal products such as milk for cheese as well as to recognize storage vessels used for meats and fats.
  • Isotopic analysis of teeth can reveal grazing patterns and sources of winter fodder for livestock.
  • XRAY fluorescence on teeth can be used to distinguish locally raised animals from imported animals within a herd.

Types of Studies

  • Dietary reconstruction
  • Economics and trade
  • Animal exploitation
  • Environmental adaptations
  • Human and animal interactions
  • Animal husbandry practices
  • Butchering practices
  • Urban supply networks
  • Seasonality

Contributions to Archaeology

  • Cross-cultural variations in animal exploitation practices.
  • The rise of specialized farming practices in response to urban market demands.
  • The presence of distinct ethnic and social status dietary profiles and consumption practices.
  • The existence of seasonal hunting and exploitation activities.
  • The role of feasting in alliance formation in historic and prehistoric societies.