Advanced Zooarchaeology (ARCM403)

StaffProfessor Naomi Sykes - Lecturer
Credit Value15
ECTS Value15
NQF Level7
Pre-requisitesARC2504 or ARCM407 (or equivalent from another institution)
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

You will develop a number of practical analytical skills needed in the advanced practice of zooarchaeology and extend basic identification skills to non-mammal species.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Critically understand advanced theoretical concepts of zooarchaeology
  • 2. Use appropriate terms and conventions employed in archaeology
  • 3. Demonstrate competence in a range of analytical methods employed on the remains of key mammal and bird species
  • 4. Interpret advanced zooarchaeological data to an advanced level
  • 5. Critically evaluate different approaches to zooarchaeology and how they lead to interpretations of the past environments and ways of life

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 6. Show initiative in interpreting a wide variety of information forms
  • 7. Assimilate/manage numerical and graphical data
  • 8. Deploy sophisticated data from technical reports

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. Manage data and display it graphically
  • 10. Acquire a range of observational and analytical skills which are applicable in the wider world
  • 11. Ask pertinent questions, contribute to group discussions, and co-operate with and learn from peers

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Introduction; advanced taphonomy and site formation processes  
  • Fracture and fragmentation analysis (with practical)  
  • Seminar: reconstructing hunting patterns  
  • Metrical analysis (with practical)  
  • Animal domestication; case study – horse domestication  
  • Seminar: animal domestication case studies  
  • Recording butchery and bone modifications (with practical)  
  • Seminar: bones as material culture  
  • Analysing birds, fish and molluscs (with practical)  
  • Seminar: secondary products 

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 33Taught classes comprising lecture and practical elements (7 x 3 hours), seminar classes (4 x 3 hours)
Guided independent study117Independent study using computer aided learning and reference resources regarding bone identification

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Seminar participation Ongoing11Oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay402000 words plus illustrations 1-10Mark and written feedback
Project analysing zooarchaeological data602000 words plus illustrations and graphs1-10Mark and written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay 2000 words plus illustrations1-10Ref/Def period
ProjectProject 2000 words plus illustrations1-10Ref/Def period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Reitz, E.J. and Wing, E.A. (2008). Zooarchaeology 2 nd edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  
  • Cohen, A. and Serjeantson, D. 1996 A manual for the identification of bird bones from archaeological sites. London: Archetype.  
  • Driesch A.E. von den (1976). A Guide to the Measurement of Animal Bones from Archaeological Sites. Peabody Museum Bulletin 1.  
  • Lyman, R.L. (1994). Vertebrate Taphonomy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  
  • Mulville, J and Outram, A.K. (eds) (2005) The Zooarchaeology of Fats, Oils, Milk and Dairying. Oxford: Oxbow Books.  
  • Zeder, M. et al. (eds) (2006) Documenting Domestication. Berkeley: University of Califormia Press.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date