Zooarchaeology Short Courses

Sheffield has a long history of zooarchaeology teaching and research, and today it is home to one of the largest and most active zooarchaeology research teams in the UK. Our members work throughout the UK and Europe as well as contributing to projects in Asia and Africa, and have research interests that span the period from the Palaeolithic to the recent past.

Understanding Zooarchaeology I and Exploring Palaeoenvironments

Understanding Zooarchaeology I


Understanding Zooarchaeology I & Exploring Palaeoenvironments

7th-9th September 2015
Cost: £180/£120 (concession)
10th - 11th September 2015
Cost: £180/£120 (concession)
7th-11th September 2015
Cost: £330/£220 (concession)
Online shop now open! Online shop now open! Online shop now open!

Understanding Zooarchaeology I

Image of peopleThis course, which is now being run for the ninth time since January 2011, aims to provide an understanding of the basic theory and methods which zooarchaeologists use to understand animal bone evidence. The course will include lectures, discussion and hands on practical classes. Participants will begin to develop the skills necessary to:

• Recognise special/unusual faunal deposits and understand the principles of excavating animal bones.

• Care for and store bones after excavation.

• Identify different species from their bones and teeth.

• Age and sex bones.

• Recognize taphonomy, butchery and pathology.

• Understand how zooarchaeological material is analysed and quantified.

• Interpret site reports and zooarchaeological literature.

                                  Image of lab class

There will be ample opportunity during the course to ask questions and discuss the issues raised during each day. However, if you have a particular area of interest that you would like us to cover in more detail, please let us know when you register for the course.

Many people have enjoyed the Zooarchaeology Short Course, including Andrew Lawson who is a Trainee Biological Curator at Manchester Museum. Find out what he thought of the course by reading his blog.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

• Introduction: What is zoo archaeology
• Excavating animal bones
• What can body parts tell us?
• Identifying animal bones

Practical sessions
• Tour of the reference collection
• Types of bone
• Skeletal anatomy
• Identifying animal bones

• Identifying animal bones
• Ageing animals

Practical sessions
• Identifying animal bones
• Bone fusion practical
• Ageing by tooth eruption and wear

• Bone modification
• Sexing and biometry
• Counting bones
• Understanding a bone report

Practical sessions
• Bone recording
• Sheep/goat biometry
• Quantification

Exploring Palaeoenvironments

The Exploring Palaeoenvironments short course runs for the first time this year and is the result of the joint efforts of zooarchaeologists, archaeobotanists and geoarchaeologists from our department.

The geological evidence and the organic remains recovered from archaeological sites are complementary indicators of the environmental conditions faced by past communities; when these indicators are thoroughly analysed and integrated, they have the potential of providing a detailed reconstruction of the environment and landscape in which people lived and moved.

The course will introduce participants to the different approaches and types of analyses employed by specialists of these related sub-disciplines. Each session will include theoretical lectures and case-studies; in addition, practical classes will provide direct experience of handling, analysing and interpreting the material evidence that archaeologists usually deal with.

The Exploring Palaeoenvironments short course is directed to students, professionals and enthusiasts alike and does not require any previous knowledge of the disciplines covered.

Day 1 Day 2
Lectures: Lectures:
  • Making sense of the landscape: geoarchaeological approaches
  • Investigating human interactions with the landscape: vegetation reconstruction
  • Pollen analysis
  • Charcoal analysis
  • Wild animals, their habitats and evidence for climate changes
  • The microfauna as an indicator of environmental conditions
  • Birds as environmental indicators: opportunities and limitations
  • Isotope analyses in archaeobotany and zooarchaeology
Practical classes: Practical classes:
  • Geoarchaeology: practical issues and applications to landscape
  • Introduction to pollen and charcoal analyses: sampling, identification and interpretation
  • Analysis and interpretation of microfauna remains from owl pellets
  • Interpretation of bird bone assemblages

Image 2 small mammal

Image 1 pollen


Registration for the January courses will open soon! Please book your place through our online shop:

7th-9th September 2015 - Understanding Zooarchaeology I: Online shop now open!

10th - 11th September 2015 - Exploring Palaeoenvironments: Online shop now open!

7th-11th September 2015 - Understanding Zooarchaeology I & Exploring Palaeoenvironments - Online shop now open!

For any queries please contact us at: zooarch-shortcourse@sheffield.ac.uk

Cancellations and refunds

Refund requests should be made by email to zooarch-shortcourse@sheffield.ac.uk, no less than 7 days before the start of the course. We will endeavour to fill the course place, and in the event that a replacement is found a full refund will be made. If a replacement cannot be found a refund of 50% of the course fee will be made for cancellations made more than 7 days before the start of the course. No refund will be made for cancellations made less than 7 days before the course start date. At the discretion of the course organisers, and in exceptional circumstances, participants that are unable to attend can defer their enrolment until the next Zooarchaeology short course.
If you are experiencing any difficulty please contact us as early as possible.