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 & II

Understanding Zooarchaeology I

Understanding Zooarchaeology II

Understanding Zooarchaeology I & II

26th - 28th January 2015
Cost: £180/£120 (concession)
29th - 30th January 2015
Cost: £180/£120 (concession)
26th - 30th January 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

Understanding Zooarchaeology II

This course will cover the identification of a wider range of species than our introductory short course, including wild British mammals and birds, and the separation of sheep and goats. It will also provide participants with experience in recording and analysing a real archaeological assemblage and putting into practice the full range of skills used by a zooarchaeologist on a daily basis.

As with Understanding Zooarchaeology I, topics will be covered using short lectures and hands-on practical activities, with the option of writing (and receiving feedback on) your own zooarchaeological report as a follow up to the practical two day course.

Understanding Zooarchaeology II is suitable for anyone who has already attended our Understanding Zooarchaeology I course, or who already has a basic knowledge of zooarchaeological methods.

Social activities

Course meal

For each course there will be an optional course meal for participants and tutors at a local restaurant.


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

26th - 28th January 2015 - Understanding Zooarchaeology I: Online shop now open!

29th - 30th January 2015 - Understanding Zooarchaeology II: Online shop now open!

26th - 30th January 2015 - Understanding Zooarchaeology I & II (with discount!): 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.