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.
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.
Boys at Sea: An Osteological and Historical Analysis of Ships’ Boys in the Late Eighteenth- to Early Nineteenth-century British Royal Navy
In the Age of Sail, boys were an integral part of sealife, comprising a significant proportion of the crews of both merchant and military vessels. In the latter, they performed both as junior officers (midshipmen) and as common seamen and marine boys. Sailing a square-rigged vessel of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries took many years to master, and training from childhood or adolescence was seen as imperative. Although many other European navies also carried a large complement of boys, this chapter focuses on the British Royal Navy in the latter half of the eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries. An historic overview of boys in the Navy is given, but this chapter will concentrate on the osteological evidence for children and adolescents, and how early exposure to a very specific lifestyle is reflected in the skeletons from three English Royal Navy hospital burial grounds.
Guillermo Luis Mengoni Goñalons
South American Camelids (SAC) occupied a central role in the development of Andean societies and were an essential element of the cultural landscape. During the Inca period camelids had a major significance to people, integrating their economy, social, political, and ritual life. Camelids were a key instrument for the expansion and establishment of the Inca Empire. Llamas were used as beasts of burden for transporting goods along extensive redistribution networks that connected the highlands, valleys, and Pacific coast. From a utilitarian perspective camelids provided different products (e.g. meat, wool). This chapter illustrates the strategies used by the Incas for managing these ungulates by presenting some case studies from the Qollasuyu, the southeastern quarter of the Inca Empire.
Cattle were an essential element of the economy of the kingdom of Kerma, located between the first and fourth cataract in Egypt, which flourished between 2600 and 1500 bc. They are an important source of protein and labour, as well as secondary products (milk, hides, tools, etc.). The role of cattle in funerary rituals is attested by the presence of bucrania, which were placed facing the deceased in the burial mounds, sometimes in large numbers. Some burials contained bucrania with parallel horns, whereas others had a deliberately misshapen horn. In the Classic Kerma phase, cattle become less important, and the bucrania around the burials rarer. This may be linked to a worsening of the climate and a rapidly growing human population. The significance of cattle in the Kerma culture is evidenced by baked clay figurines, by paintings visible in the excavated funerary ‘chapels’, and by the presence of engraved ostrich eggs.
Ian Wilkinson, Patrick Quinn, Mark Williams, Jeremy Taylor, and Ian Whitbread
Microfossils found in archaeological ceramics include representatives of kingdoms Fungi, Protista, Plantae, and Animalia and are composed of calcite, silica, or resistant organic compounds capable of withstanding firing. Methods by which microfossils are isolated for study vary considerably, but the best results involve the disaggregation of potsherds into their individual grains or by cutting petrological thin sections. Microfossils can be related directly to the age and depositional environment of the source materials (clays, temper, and slip) used in the manufacturing process, although the introduction of contaminants at the time of construction must also be recognized. When incorporated into an integrated analysis, the microfossils may demonstrate provenance; contribute to a better understanding of the local environment and landscape; identify transportation routes; contribute to an understanding of the technology used, including construction methods and firing; and elucidate the use to which the vessels were put.
Changes in lifestyle in ancient Rome (Italy) across the Iron Age/Roman transition: the evidence from animal remains
Jacopo De Grossi Mazzorin and Claudia Minniti
As concerns the continuing debate over the impact of Roman conquest in the world, Rome represents a very interesting case study as it represented the core of the Roman Empire and the geographic foundation of Roman culture. In this respect, the zooarchaeology of Rome itself provides a most promising area of investigation, as the modern city has been the scene of extensive archaeological activity in recent years. The results from the analysis of animal assemblages from Rome and neighbouring geographic areas show that significant changes occurred across the pre-Roman/Roman transition and throughout the Roman period. They include substantial changes in diet, with pork consumption becoming predominant, improvements in pig and other livestock, the development of breeds and varieties of dogs, and the introduction of exotic animals for use in exhibitions and games.
Emilie Chalmin and Jillian Huntley
The materials used to make rock art contain important evidence about the cultural practices of the people who created it: their technologies, movements, and social interactions. The number of studies of archaeological pigments in the recent literature demonstrates how fruitful such enquiries can be. In this chapter, the authors discuss the physicochemical characterization of rock art pigments, outline the history of research in this area, differentiate key concepts and terminology, and describe principal methods. They conclude with illustrative case studies from France, South Africa, and Australia to demonstrate the kinds of archaeological information that can be preserved in rock art pigments.
Katie A. Hemer and Jane A. Evans
Stable isotope analysis is firmly established as a method for the investigation of past population mobility. The distinction between local and non-local individuals within a cemetery population relies on identifying an individual’s place of childhood residence through the analysis of strontium and oxygen isotopes present in human tooth enamel. Traditionally, studies investigating mobility focus on the analysis of a single tooth. More recently, however, it has become apparent that in order to investigate the mobility of an individual during childhood—and thus to consider the importance of children in the migration process—it is necessary to analyse a series of teeth which form at different stages during the early years of life. This chapter will consider the potential of—and challenges surrounding—this scientific approach to the investigation of childhood mobility in the past.
This article discusses the current status of archaeological obsidian studies, including techniques used in characterization and sourcing studies, obsidian hydration, and regional syntheses. It begins with an overview of obsidian and the unique formation processes that create it before turning to a discussion of the significance of characterization and sourcing techniques for understanding prehistoric obsidian trade and exchange. It then considers the problematic aspects of the term “sourcing,” despite its ubiquitous use in archaeology and archaeometry, along with the use of X-ray fluorescence in the chemical characterization of obsidian. It also explores obsidian hydration dating methods and equations, factors that can affect the date assignments for hydration specimens, and the various uses of obsidian in prehistoric times. Finally, it addresses some important questions relating to obsidian research and suggests new directions in the field.
Jaume Buxeda I Garrigós and Marisol Madrid i Fernandez
This chapter discusses the differences between archaeometric research problems, addressed to the advancement of the discipline, and the application of archaeometric routine problems in archaeological research ones, in order to deep our knowledge in social systems. This archaeometric routine problems start with the as-received state pottery, a composite material, and they address two broad and related questions: the identification of meaningful ceramic groups and provenance, in order to be able to infer the compositions of archaeological ceramic assemblages; and aspects related to ceramic manufacture, in order to reconstructing manufacture processes and identifying performance characteristics, also contributing to the study of technique and technology. It is argued that a fruitful sampling strategy starts with the understanding that pottery is part of assemblages resulting from different formation processes of the archaeological record. Thus a stratified multiphase sampling, performed in different sampling steps with post-stratification after each step, is advisable.