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!
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
PALEOECOLOGY & BIOARCHAEOLOGY Studying Environment, Human Ecology, & Subsistence Charlotte Cooper, UCSC Anthropology 3 Lecture
Lecture Outline: • What is zooarchaeology? • Taphonomy & Actualistic Studies • How do bones help us understand past subsistence and paleoenvironments?
To study diet & paleoecology: Bones, teeth Artifacts Seeds, shells, pollen, etc.
Zooarchaeology • Study of animalremains, with archaeological aims • Bones, teeth, shells, fish scales • Zooarchaeologists train as archaeologists, also study with zoologists, botanists, paleontologists
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
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
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
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)
Now, what can archaeological bones tell us about the past and subsistence?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.