Archaeozoological analyses

Archaeozoological analyses

Archaeozoology or zooarchaeology is a scientific discipline studying faunal remains from archaeological sites, such as bones and teeth of vertebrates, mollusc shells etc. The aim of this discipline is to study developments of the relationships between humans and animals. Zooarchaeology connects sciences and humanities and it comes with the information about human nutriture, about human relation to animals and to the environment and about their mutual interactions. These finds do not relate just to the human nutrition, but they can be connected also to the spiritual aspects of a human life and to the religious beliefs. Zooarchaeology has many subdisciplines. Its subjects of research are not just visible animal bone remains, but also archaic DNA, trace elements or stable and radiogenic isotopes in bones and teeth of vertebra and in shells of molluscs.

Zooarchaeological analysis consists of the analysis itself and of the interpretation of the faunal remains. Basic analysis consists of a determination of species and anatomical composition of bones, determination of pathologies and bone deformations, estimation of sex and age, bone measurements, analysis of taphonomy etc. Based on these analyses for example height of the animals, age of the slaughtered individuals, sex representation, minimal numbers of individuals (MNI), species representation on the site, or a distribution of particular bones in the archaeological context can be calculated. In a frame of the data analysis, many different research questions can be discussed. These questions concern for example subsistence strategies of past societies, economic and hunting strategies, economy of natural resources, human reactions on climatic changes etc.

In the ERCA Centre the archaeozoological analyses are guaranteed by RNDr. Miriam Nývltová Fišáková, Ph.D.


Complete back extremity of a roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). Photo by M. Nývltová Fišáková.


Fragment of a shell of the Mediterranean scallop (Pecten jacobaeus). Photo by M. Nývltová Fišáková.

Fallen off little antler of a roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). Photo by M. Nývltová Fišáková.

Dog head carved of antler. Photo by M. Nývltová Fišáková.