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zooarchaeology  

Michael MacKinnon

Zooarchaeology/archaeozoology focuses on the investigation of animals in the past through analysis of recovered faunal remains, largely teeth and bones, from archaeological sites. As such zooarchaeological analyses can disclose much about the animals themselves, the environmental and ecological parameters in which they existed, as well as the cultures that kept, herded, controlled, hunted, manipulated, killed, ate, valued, symbolized, treated, and exploited them. The historical development of zooarchaeological study within classical archaeology showcases its expansion from earlier studies (in the 1970s and 1980s) that concentrated on reconstructing the core economic and ecological roles of animals in antiquity to its current state, which emphasizes more diversified, multidimensional investigations of animals across all spectra and components of ancient life. Key topics of interest in the discipline include ancient husbandry operations; the interaction between animals and ecological settings; the input of meat and other animal foodstuffs in ancient diets; the exploitation of non-consumable animal products, such as bones, hides, and wool in antiquity; breeding regimes and their effects on animals during Greek and Roman times; and the roles and characteristics of work, pet, and sacrificial animals in the past.