Animals as more than just food: Examining the human-animal relationships in archaeology

  • Katherine Bishop, University of Alberta

Animal remains are an important part of archaeological research. Although they were initially used to study human subsistence patterns, through quantifying minimum number of individuals or documenting species representation, the focus in recent years has been on the human-animal relationships of the past. This paradigm shift focuses on animal agency in the archaeological record and considers them as more than just food artefacts. The focus of this session is to present current approaches and research examining the complicated roles that non-human animals had in the past, both with humans and their environments. Topics focus broadly on human-animal dynamics, health, landscape use, belief systems, domestication, economy, and animal-related technologies based on faunal material recovered at sites from various spatiotemporal contexts.