Advanced Zooarchaeology (ARCM403)

StaffProfessor Alan Outram - Convenor
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

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 teaching33Taught classes comprising lecture and practical elements (7x 3hrs) Seminar classes (4 x 3hrs)
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 11Verbal

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 illustrations1-10referred/deferred period
ProjectProject 2000 words plus illustrations1-10referred/deferred period

Indicative learning resources - 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. 

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