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Versione italiana
Academic year
Didactic period
Primo Semestre

Training objectives

The student will gain knowledge on the methods and and techniques applied to archaeozoology with particular attention to taphonomy of hard bone tissues. The students will be able to understand and reconstruct the human-animal interaction in the past and the consequences of this relationship for both both humans and their environment.


The basic concepts of anatomy and taxonomy, necessary to the understanding of the program of this course, will be introduced in the first lessons.

Course programme

Introduction to archaeozoology: historical notice. Basic concepts of taxonomy. Methods for the archaozoological stdy: anatomical and taxonomical identification, estimation of age at death and sex; seasonality and osteometry. Taphonomy. Bone surface modifications. Optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy analysis.Experimental approach in archaeozoology. Methods to estimate relative frequencies of taxa in faunal assemblages. Gathering data.Hunting. Domestication in the Near-East: dog, cat and firstdomestic ungulates. Vertebrate domestication in Africa, Central Asia, Far-East and Americas.

Didactic methods

Frontal Lectures and osteological laboratories. The latter are based on practical lessons on the management, treatment and cleaning of faunal assemblages; ageing and osteometry; taphonomy and microscopical analyses.

Learning assessment procedures

-Oral examination
The exam will ascertain the student knowledge through the critical analysis of 3 scientific papers of her/his choice among the ones indicated by the teacher. Starting from these case-studies, the student should prove to know deeply the theoretical contents of the course, spanning all the main themes dealt with during the lectures.

Reference texts

3 articoli da concordare con la docente

De Grossi Mazzorin, 2008. Archeozoologia: lo studio dei resti animali in archeologia. Manuali Laterza.

Masseti, Uomini e (non solo) topi. Firenze University Press, 2002. ISBN 88-8453-030-X (studiare i capp. 3-7-9-11, e leggere i capp.4-5-6).

Altri testi:
Tagliacozzo, 1994. L'archeozoologia: problemi e metodologie relativi alla interpretazione dei dati. Origini, XVII: 7-88.

Davis, The archaeology of animals. Batsford Ltd., 1987. ISBN 0-7134-4572-6.

Lyman, Vertebrate Taphonomy. Cambridege University press, 1994. ISBN 0-521-45840-4.

Fernandez-Jalvo & Andrews, Atlas of Taphonomic Identifications: 1001+ Images of Fossil and Recent Mammal Bone Modification. Springer, 2018. EAN 9789402413489