Portland State zooarchaeology talk to shed light on conservation issues

Coming to Portland State University Dec. 3 is a talk on one of my favorite topics: zooarchaeology.

Zooarchae-what?

Here's a hint as to why I love the topic of zooarchaeology. These are the bones of a single deer from an archaeology site that I analyzed as part of my master's thesis, which dealt with zooarchaeology topics. Susannah L. Bodman | Science In Portland

Here’s a hint as to why I love the topic of zooarchaeology. These are the bones of a single deer from an archaeology site that I analyzed as part of my master’s thesis, which dealt with zooarchaeology topics. Susannah L. Bodman | Science In Portland

Zooarchaeology, sometimes called faunal analysis, is a subdiscipline of archaeology in which specialists study the remains of animals, mostly bone or shell, found in association with past human cultures (historic and prehistoric). Often the association is that humans were using said animals as food and other resources.

However, assemblages of such animals from archaeological sites or from faunal caches (e.g. a predator’s den or natural pit trap that were contemporaneous to but not directly associated with any human groups) can be useful in reconstructing past environments, including climate conditions and ecological relationships with other species.

Along these lines of reconstruction, Michael Etnier, a senior research associate and zooarchaeologist at PSU, will present “Zooarchaeology: Using old and new bones to address North Pacific conservation issues.”

His presentation will begin at 4 p.m. in Room 236, Smith Memorial Student Union, PSU campus. It’s part of the Archaeology First Thursdays series presented by the PSU Anthropology Department and Anthropology Student Association, and it’s free and open to the public.

For more information, go to the series’ web page or contact PSU’s Anthropology Department.

And a note of full disclosure: Zooarchaeology is one of my favorite topics because it was my specialty when I was involved in archaeology. Holler at me if you love taphonomy and uniformitarianism or have ever gleefully scooped up roadkill for your comparative collection. (It’s a zooarchaeologist thing.)

Susannah L. Bodman
Twitter: @Sciwhat
Facebook: Sciwhat.Science

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