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Written by: Elizabeth Moore
Wednesday June 25, 2014

Introduction to Zooarchaeology

July 21-25, 2014

A 5-day zooarchaeology lab course is being offered by Dr. Elizabeth Moore at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. This course is for people who already have some archaeology lab experience and are interested in learning more about faunal analysis. Topics to be covered include the basics of element and taxonomic identification, the identification of evidence of butchering, the identification of several taphonomic processes, the differences between observed and derived measures (MNI, NISP, MNE, etc.) and the application of each, and how to make minor repairs to faunal remains using archival-quality materials. This will be a hands-on course – students will learn by doing. Students will be assigned faunal samples to identify, analyze, and interpret throughout the week. Students will have the opportunity to observe how skeletons are prepped for the reference collection in the skinning lab and the dermestarium and how replicas of specimens are produced in the casting program. Students will have the opportunity to produce a cast to keep using one of the molds at VMNH. Essential materials will be provided as handouts during the course. There is a $50 materials fee for this course to cover the cost of casting supplies and handouts. Fees and registration are due by Tuesday, July 15.

We will be kicking off the week with a pig roast on Sunday, July 20th. We will be processing some of the pig bones throughout the week. There will be non-pork food options available.

If you are an ASV certification student, this course is not a replacement for the general lab methods experience required by the certification program. This class is not restricted to ASV members. Given space limitations in the laboratories, there is only room for 10 (ten) people to attend the course. If a minimum of 6 (six) people do not register for the class, all fees will be returned and the class will be canceled.

If you wish to do some reading in advance, I recommend Identifying and Interpreting Animal Bones: A Manual by April Beisaw.

A hotel rate of $54.99 (+tax) per night is available at the Baymont Inn & Suites, 378 Commonwealth Blvd, Martinsville, VA 24112, 276-638-0478. Make sure to tell the person making the reservation that you are from the group with the Virginia Museum of Natural History to get the special rate.




EMAIL:________________________________________  PHONE:___________________________

ASV CHAPTER OR OTHER AFFILIATION: ____________________________________________

Please mail registration form and $50 check made out to “VMNH Foundation” to:

Elizabeth Moore
Virginia Museum of Natural History
21 Starling Avenue
Martinsville, VA 24112

You may send your registration information by email to and indicate that you are sending the check by mail. Questions? Contact Elizabeth Moore at

Zooarchaeology Class at VMNH

Tags: Archaeology, Dr. Elizabeth Moore, Research and Collections