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Lecture 1

ANTH 20633 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Paleopathology, Taphonomy, Hip Bone

5 pages70 viewsFall 2016

Course Code
ANTH 20633
David Aftandilian

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Animal Remains zooarchaeology
How do we know humans brought animals to the site?
- Cut marks vs tooth marks on animal bones.
- If animals appear when humans settled there
- If specific bones are selected, omitted, or collected.
- Burning of bone
Other uses for animal remains besides food
- Bones for building
- Clothing from shins/hides
- Tools from bones
- Rituals
- Currency (shells)
Quantify Animal Remains
- Meat weight (kind, sex, time of year)
- NISP (Number of Identified Specimen): number of identified bones of each species as
percentage of the total number of identified bones at a site.
o Problems:
Some animals have more bones than others
Counts fragments of bones (a bone cut in half is two)
Does not account for meat weight
- MNI (Minimum number of individuals): the least number of individuals who could have
accounted for the animal bones present of a site.
What do zoo archeologists want to know?
Sex: Sexual dimorphism
- Features that identify a sex (like antlers)
- Shape and size
- Penis bone
- Size: some grow continually throughout life
- Epiphyseal fusion in long bones (attachments at the end)
- More arthritis at joints (also connected to labor)
- Tooth wear
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Tortoise Slaughter Pattern
- Older at death in older samples
o Increase in predation
- Climate
How to tell if animals were domestic?
- Tools
- Smaller size (soon after domestication)
- Context: do they appear when people settle there
- Early arthritis/ deformities
Bioarcheology = study of human remains from archaeological sites
- Mortuary archeology = study of how people treated their dead in the past. (inhuman vs
cremation, what artifacts were buried with them. Taphonomy is more of how the entire
site got buried.
What can we learn about individuals from bones?
- Age of death
- Occupation
- Sex
- Cause of death
Bio archaeological Analysis
1) Human vs nonhuman
2) How many people
3) Sex
4) Age
Partition Scars
- Much more common in women than in men
- Have some statistical relationship with childbirth (meaning, mothers have them more
- Women who have not given birth may also have them.
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