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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

Animal Skeletal Remains

A practical introduction to animal bones in Archaeology

Animal bones
Animal bones

Animal bones and teeth are found on the majority of archaeological sites and can reveal important information about the economy and way of life of people in the past as well as helping us to understand the complex relationship between humans and animals. Animals formed an important part of people's lives in the past and the bones from archaeological sites may provide information on not only diet, but also care, hygiene, climate, status, season of occupation, hunting and butchery methods, industries, trade and religion.

This module will introduce you to the study of animal bones from archaeological sites and will cover basic identification skills and analytical techniques. There will be a 'hands on' approach with practical work handling archaeological and modern bone samples accompanied by supporting lectures.

Unlike most human bones, which are often recovered from sites in an ordered and systematic manner, animal bones may be found in any kind of feature in any area of a site.  They also vary greatly in size from the smallest rodents, birds or fish to large mammals such as cattle and horse.  In this module we will concentrate on the mammals recovered from British archaeological sites, although we will also consider the identification and role of birds.

Identifying animal bones we will look at the following:

Course date/time:

Wednesdays 7:00pm - 9:00pm, starting 30 January 2013


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