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.
Angela Schlumbaum and Ceiridwen J. Edwards
This chapter begins by defining ancient DNA and providing a brief history of ancient DNA and its potential for archaeology, followed by discussions of the technological aspects of ancient DNA; ancient DNA methodology; and state of the art, advantages, and disadvantages of wetland/wet sites. Ancient DNA retrieval from waterlogged material remains poorly understood. In many cases, DNA is unfortunately completely destroyed. However, given the rapid evolution of technology, both of instrumentation and development of techniques (e.g., new methods to reduce inhibition), improved results from waterlogged material are expected in the future.
John Peter Oleson and Robert L. Hohlfelder
This article describes the evolution of harbors in the ancient world that can be linked to changing social needs and technological developments. Hundreds of harbor sites of varying sizes and designs can be documented around the Mediterranean dating back thousands of years. Relief sculpture and a few shipwrecks provide ample evidence for the intensity of trade by sea in the eastern Mediterranean during the Bronze Age, but the rise in the relative sea level in the eastern Mediterranean since the Bronze Age has obscured or destroyed many of the early harbor sites. Natural anchorages were used throughout the period of Mediterranean history for meeting maritime needs of coastal communities. Hundreds of potential targets await serious archaeological investigation and pose new research questions, which will be answered with further technological developments.
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.
Karen Gust Schollmeyer and Katherine A. Spielmann
Studies of animals in Southwest archaeology have been particularly successful in addressing the social-environmental context of human use of fauna. Two aspects of this topic form the focus of this chapter: understanding anthropogenic effects on landscapes, and human ritual engagement with animals. Studies of fauna and anthropogenic landscape change have centered on topics including garden hunting, anthropogenic vegetation changes, and human impacts on artiodactyls. Investigations of human ritual engagement with animals have primarily included analyses of room and site function (particularly examining ceremonial centers), studies of the emergence of new ritual regimes, and analyses focused on birds in religion. Emerging directions for Southwest zooarchaeology include synthetic analyses, archaeological chemistry, and variation in religious belief over time and space.
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.
Christopher I. Roos
It has been suggested that anthropogenic burning may have altered Southwest landscapes at a large scale. Southwestern biomes vary in their propensity for and their susceptibility to anthropogenic burning practices. Anthropogenic burning to enhance the productivity of wild plant foraging or agriculture was probably limited in scale; on the other hand, fire use in hunting, religious practice, and warfare may have impacted larger scales, though at lower intensity. Middle-elevation forests, woodlands, and grasslands were the biotic zones most likely to be impacted by anthropogenic burning, but sophisticated mimicry of natural fire regimes means that the evidence of such impact is ambiguous.
Archaeobotanical research focuses on the study of past people–plant relationships. This includes a reconstruction of the diet, subsistence, agricultural strategies, social and cultural role of food, exploitation of wild resources, procurement of fodder, aspects of seasonality, and environment in which people and their animals dwelt. The accuracy of archaeobotanical reconstructions, however, depends on the quality of the botanical data recovered from excavations. This chapter discusses how both preservation and research methodology affect interpretation, emphasizing the possible routes of entry of plant remains into the deposits and the loss of evidence due to poor preservation conditions. It presents several case studies which underline the potential of waterlogged preservation and demonstrate that failure to understand the taphonomical processes can lead to inaccurate and biased interpretations of the data.
This chapter considers the application of archaeobotany to the later medieval period in Britain with reference to selected sites. The strengths and weaknesses of methods and evidence are explained. The most common plants remains are cereals but fruit and nuts are also found in abundance, some being imported species. Vegetables and herbs are generally poorly preserved. Some of the richest assemblages come from wet deposits in ports and may include exotics or from towns where possible thatch and industrial remains are known. Elite sites such as castles, manors, and monasteries sometimes also have abundant plant remains but the evidence from lower-status rural sites can be absent or difficult to recognize. Key concerns for the future include the limited scope of many commercial archaeological investigations, the need to exploit the archaeobotanical evidence more fully other than as a source of information about diet, and the importance of collaborative work between archaeobotanists and historians.
Donny L. Hamilton and C. Wayne Smith
Maritime archaeology is the one field of archaeology that is completely tied to the conservation laboratory. This article gives information about the archaeological role of the conservation laboratory. It presents four conservation case studies where the archaeological role of the conservation laboratory is emphasized. It also addresses some of the applied conservation techniques. Conservation of encrusted artifacts from shipwrecks or any marine site provides archaeological data that needs to be recorded, conserved, properly curated, and displayed. If this is not done, then the archaeological project will suffer. All artifacts are conserved in the conservation laboratory. The concept of reversibility is an important factor in any conservation procedure, for artifacts often have to be retreated. The processes for advancement of archaeology as well as conservation are being undertaken in the conservation laboratory.
This chapter begins with a brief discussion of proactive and reactive archaeology. It then explains the need for a strategic approach for wetland archaeology; presents archaeological strategies for wetland landscapes in England and in Europe; and considers the balance between preservation and excavation.
Charles F. W. Higham
This chapter describes the author's personal encounters with wetland environments. Over 50 years ago, he met one of the great pioneers of European lake village studies, Emil Vogt, who encouraged him to study the faunal remains from Egolzwil 4 for his doctoral dissertation and he spent weeks camped by the Greifensee, experiencing for himself lakeshore living. However, the author took another road in the Carr woods – and started his journey to the archaeology of Southeast Asia. The chapter discusses topics such as the global reach of wetland archaeology today; the challenges of recovery and conservation and the potential that wetland archaeology has to inform us about past societies, time, and our common humanity.
Environmental conservation has long been orientated towards reconstructing or conserving ‘naturalness’. The historical sciences in combination with new ecological thinking have taught us that landscapes are constantly in flux. We now know that many landscapes that previously were regarded as natural in fact have been shaped and reshaped by people over millennia, and that human disturbance of different kinds may enhance landscape heterogeneity and biodiversity. This chapter presents cases from different parts of Africa that demonstrate how archaeology, palaeoecology, and historical analysis have contributed to reform the traditional outlook of environmental conservation and revise misconstrued landscape histories. It shows that historical studies can offer insights that contribute a better understanding of species conservation, ecosystem function, prediction of ecosystem behaviour, and sound management of cultural landscapes. The long-term historical continuities in the landscape raise awareness of the importance of traditional practices and their benefits for environmental conservation.
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.
This chapter discusses wetland occupations during the Pleistocene, early Holocene, mid- to late Holocene, and Contact Period. Several sites, associated with ancient lake systems and minor swamps, are dated to the Pleistocene, and there is some evidence of occupation in the early Holocene. However, most archaeological evidence of wetlands occupation in Australia comes from the mid- to late Holocene period. During this period, post-Pleistocene rising sea levels flooded Australia's coastline and created numerous estuarine and freshwater wetlands on the coastal plains in northern and southern Australia, and modern rivers and floodplains were formed inland. Finally, ethnohistoric and ethnographic accounts make the Contact Period a rich source of detail regarding recent Aboriginal use of wetlands.
John K. Milhauser
The Basin of Mexico was the political, demographic, and economic core of the Aztec Empire. Its landscape of lakes and marshes shaped settlement patterns, the flow of resources, and the subsistence base. This chapter focuses on the lakes’ nonagricultural resources—waterfowl, fish, other edible plants and animals, reeds, and salt—and on the people whose livelihoods depended on them. Exploiting aquatic resources brought people together as they shared territories, followed local rhythms of production, and participated in networks of exchange. To understand the forces that shaped demand for these products, and the lives of their producers, this chapter looks beyond subsistence economies to consider the cultural and commercial networks in which lacustrine products were embedded. As such, this investigation adds to a growing literature on rural Aztec economies that were regionally varied and interdependent.
Behavioural inferences from Late Pleistocene Aboriginal Australia: seasonality, butchery, and nutrition in southwest Tasmania
Richard Cosgrove and Jillian Garvey
Detailed research into marsupial behavioural ecology and modelling of past Aboriginal exploitation of terrestrial fauna has been scarce. Poor bone preservation is one limiting factor in Australian archaeological sites, but so has been the lack of research concerning the ecology and physiology of Australia’s endemic fauna. Much research has focused on marine and fresh-water shell-fish found in coastal and inland midden sites. Detailed studies into areas such as seasonality of past human occupation and nutritional returns from terrestrial prey species have not had the same attention. This chapter reviews the current level of published Australian research into two aspects of faunal studies, seasonality and nutrition. It describes the patterns from well-researched faunal data excavated from the Ice Age sites in southwest Tasmania. Concentration is on the vertebrate fauna found in seven limestone cave sites to examine any temporal changes to seasonal butchery and identify any differences between seasonally occupied sites.
Animal bones and antler of cervidae are some of the most important raw materials for producing artefacts during the pre- and early metal (copper) ages. While during the Palaeolithic only few wetland sites with typical wet soil conservation are known, in the Neolithic, wetland sites are increasingly common, especially in Europe. One of the best-known regions of Neolithic and Bronze Age lake-dwellings is the Circum–Alpine foreland in central Europe. This chapter discusses the important interactions between available raw materials, technologies, and produced forms and types of artefacts, focusing on the Neolithic finds from the Swiss Circum–Alpine foreland, dating between 4300 and 2400 cal