Field School North Amer
Please note: Student feedback is only available for courses prior to Spring 2021
- Society for American Archaeology. 04/2012 - present. Position : Member.
- Utah Professional Archaeological Council. 04/2012 - present. Position : Member.
Zooarchaeology and Field Ecology
Zooarchaeology is an interdisciplinary subfield of archaeology focused on the analysis of animal remains from archaeological contexts to address questions involving past human foraging behavior, paleoecology, and paleoclimate. The foundation of this research is the identification of archaeological vertebrate bones and teeth but much of the meaning of those data resides in knowledge about the behavior, ecology, and natural history of the identified species. This novel, hands-on, laboratory- and field-based course is designed not only to train students in the identification and analysis of fragmentary vertebrate remains but to provide them with a rich background in the natural history of vertebrate animals that is essential to conducting zooarchaeological research. Unlike any other archaeological field experience, students will gain expertise in the identification of fragmentary vertebrate remains from archaeological contexts in the western U.S. and at the same time be immersed through daily field trips in the natural history and ecology of local vertebrate animals in a remote and scenic setting in the Sierra Nevada mountains of northern California on the shore of Eagle Lake. Topics that will be covered include foraging theory, prey choice, the nature of the archaeofaunal record, units of quantification, taphonomy, ecological concepts and theory, vertebrate taxonomy and natural history, and skeletal preparation. Students gain additional experience in archaeological vertebrate identification and analysis through the completion of a problem-oriented research project based on the analysis of one of several provided faunal assemblages from sites in western North America. Students attend and present their research at the 15th Annual Zooarchaeology Conference held at Eagle Lake the last weekend of the field school and thus attain invaluable experience in delivering professional conference presentations as well as the opportunity to network with a diversity of prominent zooarchaeologists.