Historical questions – zooarchaeological answers
Historical Zooarchaeology: New Perspectives on Combining History, Archaeology, and Zooarchaeology
12 December 2019 (9.30 – 17.30)
This is the second joint workshop co-organized by the University of Amsterdam and the University of Groningen exploring new developments in method and theory in zooarchaeology. The sub-field of zooarchaeology has reached maturity in the last 50 years and now informs all fields of archaeological inquiry, from the distant prehistoric past, to forensic investigations of recent faunal remains. The aim of this workshop is to explore the particular challenges that are posed when working on historically documented time periods. Does the presence of textual sources make our lives as specialist researchers easier? Or simply complicate our interpretations of faunal remains?
We are seeking papers that explore human-animal interactions and relationships from a variety of perspectives demonstrating the opportunities as well as the potential pitfalls that arise when one attempts to combine archaeological data with evidence from documentary and or epigraphic sources.
More about the workshop
Although many archaeologists still tend to consider zooarchaeology central to prehistory, but not necessarily to historic archaeology, the increasing number of excellent publications shows otherwise. This workshop will examine how nuanced historical perspectives can assist zooarchaeological interpretations and visa versa. A wide range of topics on the animal-human relationships can be investigated through historical zooarchaeology: trade, socio-political change, shifts in biodiversity, animal aesthetics, and social constructs of exotics… Tensions between historical sources and archaeological evidence and insights from posthuman and new materialist perspectives make historical zooarchaeology all the more interesting as a research direction at the intersection of archaeology, history, and the study of the Anthropocene mind and state. As historical zooarchaeologists we deal with places, things, and issues from the past or present when written records and oral traditions can inform and contextualize cultural material. A challenge is to overcome the bridge between the disciplines, and to contrast, compare, and integrate approaches.
In this workshop, we will look at the status of affairs and recent developments, using ongoing research in Dutch archaeology departments and institutes, and look around us for models, inspiration, and synergy, from recent research in related subjects in the humanities