California, US: Eagle Lake Zooarchaeology Ecological Field Course
Analyses of archaeological vertebrate remains can address problems that range from past human subsistence strategies and paleoecology to paleoclimatic reconstruction. Addressing such issues involves first, the identification of the animal remains, and second, the interpretation of those remains. These two components of zooarchaeology serve as the main goals of this hands-on, laboratory-based, field course. Students can learn how to identify fragmentary vertebrate remains from archaeological contexts in the western U.S. Topics which will be covered include the nature of the archaeofaunal record, units of quantification, taphonomy, the selective utilization of animals, and foraging theory. Additional experience in both vertebrate identification and interpretation will be gained through the completion of a problem-oriented study and the results presented at a conference.