1st Edition

The Archaeology of Animals

By Simon J. M. Davis Copyright 1987
    228 Pages
    by Routledge

    224 Pages
    by Routledge

    Ever since the discovery of fossil remains of extinct animals associated with flint implements, bones and other animal remains have been providing invaluable information to the archaeologist. In the last 20 years many archaeologists and zoologists have taken to studying such "archaeofaunal" remains, and the science of "zoo-archaeology" has come into being.
    What was the nature of the environment in which our ancestors lived? In which season were sites occupied? When did our earliest ancestors start to hunt big game, and how efficient were they as hunters? Were early humans responsible for the extinction of so many species of large mammals 10-20,000 years ago? When, where and why were certain animals first domesticated? When did milking and horse-riding begin? Did the Romans influence our eating habits? What were sanitary conditions like in medieval England? And could the terrible pestilence which afflicted the English in the seventh century AD have been plague? These are some of the questions dealt with in this book.
    The book also describes the nature and development of bones and teeth, and some of the methods used in zoo-archaeology.

    1. Methods and problems in zoo archaeology, 2. What are bones and teeth?, 3. On reconstructing past environments, 4. In what season was a site occupied? 5. Our hunting past, 6. From hunter to herd: the origin of domestic animals, 7. Later domesticates and the secondary use of animals, 8. Britain: a case study.


    Dr Simon Davis works as a Zoo-Archaeologist in English Heritage's Ancient Monuments Laboratory; he is also an Hon. Research Assistant at University College, London. In addition to excavation work in Israel, Iran, Cyprus and Britain, he has travelled in the Middle East, Europe, the Maghreb and North America.

    `The book is excellent and essential reading for anyone connected with archaeology, be they students, laymen, or experienced excavators and specialists' - Journal of Archaeological Science

    `Simon Davis has produced an excellent account of the more intriguing investigations carried out on animal remains from archaeological sites. It will fascinate all who are interested in changes in the human environment and, as an exposition on interpretation, it should be read by every archaeologist' - The Times Literary Supplement

    `Simon Davis provides a wealth of esoteric information about animals in the past' - New Scientist

    `The Archaeology of Animals is an impressive achievement, making an excellent case for the importance of studying animal bones from archaeological sites' - Archaeology Today

    `...an excellent introduction to the subject, written from the point of view of a zoologist but impeccable in its appreciation of the rich store of archaeological data that the study of faunal remains can yield' - British Archaeological News