Joaquin Arroyo-Cabrales and Eduardo Corona-M.
Interest in the first hunter-gatherer populations of Mexico has increased in the last fifteen years. Exploration of the Late Pleistocene localities involved in the early peopling of Mexico, including the discovery of new ones and reanalysis of known ones, and the application of new methods and techniques (e.g. AMS radiocarbon dating, stable isotopes, scanning electron microscopy, palaeobotanical analysis) have increased. Archaeozoology has contributed to this expansion by increasing the record of terrestrial vertebrates, improving understanding of the record and delimitation of distributional ranges of extinct species. There is now more information on the type of diet of some extinct herbivores and hypotheses about the status of local palaeoenvironments have been provided. Questions remain about the interactions between human migrations and the environments, specifically the degree of influence that humans had in the extinction of mega- and mesofaunas, and the diversity of subsistence strategies employed by hunter-gatherers in the Late Pleistocene.
Analytical techniques and research methodologies for archaeological ceramic analysis have changed drastically over time; however, the way we record and represent ceramics graphically has not undergone significant change in response to new technologies. This chapter discusses the method of traditional pottery illustration, line and shading or monochrome drawings done by hand, its demerits and proposes a new illustration style which combines traditional drawing formats, photography, and computer software. The new method of pottery drawing overcomes these demerits and shows the illustrations in an analytical method. Moreover this new method can benefit archaeologists to comprehend ceramic on wider geographical regions and enhances opportunities for research.
Elizabeth J. Reitz
Data from three early European-sponsored colonies in North America indicate that changes in animal use occurred quickly. Over half of the meat from vertebrate sources in a Spanish assemblage associated with the first permanent European settlement on the Atlantic coast (Florida) and a French assemblage from the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico near Mobile (Alabama) are from local, wild animals. The English assemblage associated with Charles Towne (South Carolina) reflects the rapid development of a short-lived cattle industry. Early colonists by and large practised a strategy that combined similar arrays of local wild meat sources with pork or beef regardless of the national affiliation of the colony, the ethnicity of the colonists, or the century in which colonization occurred.
In addition to providing food, companionship, and raw materials for clothing, furniture, tools, and ornaments, animals also played a key role in religious practices in ancient Egypt. Apart from serving as sacrifices, each god had one or more animal as a totem. Certain specially marked exemplars of these species were revered as manifestations of that god that enjoyed all the privileges of being a deity during their lifetime and which were mummified and buried with pomp upon their death. Other animals, which did not bear the distinguishing marks, were mummified and offered to the gods, transmitting the prayers of devotees directly to their divinities. These number in the millions and were a significant feature of Egyptian religious belief and self-identity in the later periods of Egyptian history.
Animals formed an essential part of urban life in England from Medieval times onwards, economically, socially, and ecologically. As livestock, they provided meat and other carcass resources, traction power, wool, and dairy produce. The close integration of livestock with everyday urban life is reflected in the ubiquity of butchered cattle, and sheep and pig bones, and the sight, sound, and smell of livestock would have been everyday experiences. Horses are probably under-represented in the animal bone record, given their likely importance as pack and riding animals. Poultry and, later, rabbits were important as livestock that poorer households could raise and trade. Other animals provided companionship, although the differentiation of companion animals is not unproblematic. The commensal scavengers such as crows and rodents were a central element of the urban scene, becoming stigmatized as ‘vermin’ at least by the sixteenth century.
Zooarchaeological comparisons of Roman and Islamic North Africa indicate changes in animal use largely resultant from shifting parameters of urban and economic expansion and development, presence and involvement of the military, cultural preferences, and restrictions in dietary resources. ‘Urbanized’ and ‘militarized’ zones, such as Carthage, and the Egyptian delta and eastern desert, typically display increases in pork consumption during Roman times; others areas, such as Morocco and inland Tunisia and Libya, regions arguably less affected by, or exposed to, Roman dietary and cultural customs or demands, maintain greater temporal consistency. Islamic patterns display regional diversity, with sheep/goat pastoralism predominating, integrated husbandry schemes and animal breed manipulation generally diminishing, and cultural taboos against pork consumption registering in many areas.
Archaeozoological techniques and protocols for elaborating scenarios of early colonization and Neolithization of Cyprus
This paper summarizes some of the main results that have been obtained through the archaeozoological study of the large Cypriot Pre-Pottery Neolithic site of Shillourokambos, dated between 8300 and 7000 cal bc. It shows how the presence of the archaeozoologists in the field, as well as an original faunal-based critical approach of the relative chronology of the different phases of occupation of this site, can improve the quality of the archaeozoological contribution to the cultural history of the region. Special attention is also paid to the osteometric study of sexually dimorphic ungulates. The results concern the evolution of the system of exploitation of the animal resources during this important phase of the Near Eastern Neolithic transition. They also evidence the long-distance exchanges between early Neolithic villages and they indirectly document the early history of navigation in the eastern Mediterranean.
When telling stories through rock art, the artist formed an intimate relationship with the audience through the act of conveying such stories. Ethnographic evidence in many parts of the world suggests that the artist is merely a device through which stories are transmitted from rock surface to audience, whereby the artist becomes an intermediary within the act of performance through the medium of the brush, chisel, and finger, thus creating a theatre of performance. During this performance, the artist used many devices to either conceal or promote the narrative; one of the props used within this performance would have been the panel on which the art was performed, placing figures into spatial context and observing the rules of grammar. This chapter explores how early artists selected and used various rock surfaces, utilizing the rock face’s colour, texture, placement, and natural topography to mimic the surrounding landscape.
Hans Barnard and Jelmer W. Eerkens
Organic residues can be defined as the carbon-based remains of plants, animals or humans, either in their original or a decomposed state. Biomolecules that can indicate the source of such residues include lipids (such as fatty acids, sterols, mono-, di-, and triglycerides, di-, and triterpenoids), alkaloids (such as caffeine, capsaicin, cocaine, ephedrine, nicotine, theobromine), carbohydrates (such as polysaccharides and starches), proteins (such as albumin, casein, collagen, gliadin, hemaglobin, hordein, myoglobin) and DNA. Archaeological organic residues have been identified in stains on teeth, deposits on stone tools, stains in soil, smoking pipes, and material adhering to pot sherds. A comprehensive overview of such an overwhelming number of compounds and range of methods is beyond the scope of this chapter. Instead, we present an overview for identifying and interpreting organic residues in ceramic vessels, followed by a brief discussion of issues related to archaeological organic residue analysis in general.
In the famous projects of ancient Egyptian architecture, sunlight had always a special role. An expert use of light and shadows helped in creating halls filled with sacredness in many temples; but most of all the Sun was the visible face of Ra, the Sun God. As a consequence, religious and funerary architectural projects were connected with the sun rays on special days of the year through astronomical alignments. The chapter focuses on a few key examples—the Akhet hierophanies at Giza and Amarna, and the winter solstice alignment at Karnak—showing the potentialities of modern archaeoastronomy in understanding key aspects of ancient Egyptian monuments and religion.