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Archaeology Labs Tour!
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  1. Archaeology Labs Tour! -See ongoing research for projects in New Mexico, California, and beyond! -Meetadvanced undergradate archaeology track students! -Learn about opportunities for independent study, senior thesis projects, and other ways to engage with high level scholarship!

  2. Archaeology Labs Tour!Friday, May 13th, • To participate: • 1. Talk/email to your TAs • 2. Discuss your interests • 3. TAs will send lists of recommended students to me next week • 4. I will contact you by email with details and invite you to join us! • 5. Bring questions and dress for lab environments

  3. PALEOECOLOGY & BIOARCHAEOLOGY Studying Environment, Human Ecology, & Subsistence Charlotte Cooper, UCSC Anthropology 3 Lecture

  4. Lecture Outline: • What is zooarchaeology? • Taphonomy & Actualistic Studies • How do bones help us understand past subsistence and paleoenvironments?

  5. To study diet & paleoecology: Bones, teeth Artifacts Seeds, shells, pollen, etc.

  6. Zooarchaeology • Study of animalremains, with archaeological aims • Bones, teeth, shells, fish scales • Zooarchaeologists train as archaeologists, also study with zoologists, botanists, paleontologists

  7. Must Consider: Taphonomy • Taphos - burial, nomos - law or system • Processes affecting remains from death to recovery (excav.) • Term from paleontology • Differential preservation → “biases” • Postmortem processes “bias” samples, but add info on humans & ecology

  8. Taphonomy & Zooarchaeology • Analyze for traces of modifying agents (taphonomy is part of site formation processes, recall last lecture): • human (butchery, tool-making, etc.) • non-human (carnivores, weathering etc.) • Aided by actualistic research

  9. Actualistic Research • Methodological approach, middle-range theory: • Create “experiments” on bones to see the resulting modifications of human behaviors or non-human processes • Compare bones from those controlled experiments with what is seen on bone from archaeological sites • Conclude that the probable cause of modifications in both cases may be the same/different

  10. Actualistic Research: Examples • Human impacts on bone: • Butchery (cutmarks) • Cooking (burning) • Making tools from bones (awls) • Transport of carcasses from hunting site to basecamps (Nunamuit, by Binford)

  11. Actualistic Research: Example

  12. Now, what can archaeological bones tell us about the past and subsistence?

  13. Before leaping to inferences from faunal specimens, how do we count animals in a site? • NISP = Number of Identifiable (to species level) Specimens in a sample • MNI= Minimum Number of Individuals • that must have been acquired to get the total of bones in sample • Example: 16 left jaw bones at a site mean that a minimum of 16 animals contributed left jaws

  14. Overview of what we can know: • Site use: • Dating via collagen • Seasonality • Diet: • Species choice • Hunting/transport methods • Social context: • Gender, class, ethnicity • Environment: • Context of sites and changes in environment

  15. Site Use: Seasonality • Migratory species present seasonally • fish (e.g. salmon), birds (e.g. swallows) • Antler & tooth development • Age of animal at death, used with known birth season to determine season of harvesting • Example Olsen-Chubbuck bison kill site • Note: seasonality of the site may ≠ total span of site use by humans

  16. Diet, Hunting, Transport • Species selection • Nutrition in parts of carcass (meat, brains, marrow) • Hunting techniques (technology) • Domestication of animals, herding • Transport of whole carcass or portions

  17. Peak at 1110-1200 AD: City covered six miles, 20,000 residents • Agriculture (corn, squash, sunflowers) • Divine chief, elite class, commoners • Chief=control food surpluses (stored crops, meat, fish) • How might this look in bones? Subsistence & Social Relations • Various groups in a society may have differing access to animal foods • age, gender, class • Need good contextual relations (separate areas with different animal remains, etc.) • Cross-check with human bone isotopes • Examples: • Ethnicity: element selection, butchery techniques, cuisine (including preparation, presentation, disposal of food) • Jun Sunseri @ El Rito (colonial N.M.) • Class: • Cahokia

  18. Paleoenvironments • Species’ requirements and biology reflect environment • microfauna better than macrofauna (shorter life cycles and not as quick to migrate) • size/quality of an animal’s population is dependent upon the environment • Understand human reaction to environmental stochasticity by species available/chosen • Includes theory of behavioral ecology, optimal foraging

  19. Reconstructing Paleoenvironments • Example: Moss Landing, CA • Northern fur seal paleoecology • Value: fatty, large • How much human hunting would have led to seal extinction? • 10% female seals locally leads to extinction within 100 years.

  20. Other Approaches to Diet:Stable Isotope Analysis of Human Bone • Fine-grained: reflects individual intake • Carbon ratios[12C:13C]: plant foods • Strontium:nitrogen ratios=sea vs land animal foods • Cemeteries: show gender and class differences in diet in a population

  21. To learn more, see next week’s faunal activity in section… 50,000 B.C.—Gak Eisenberg invents the first and last silent mammoth whistle.