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An Introduction to Zooarchaeology

  • Textbook
  • © 2018


  • Provides a comprehensive and conceptually coherent introduction to Zooarchaeology? ?
  • Offers a profusely illustrated and well-documented critical literature review of the effects of specific bone-modifying actors and processes
  • Discusses the contributions of zooarchaeologists’ to ecology and conservation

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Table of contents (26 chapters)

  1. An Orientation to Zooarchaeology

  2. The Evidence - Vertebrate Bodies

  3. Basic Practical Approaches

  4. Identifying Causal Process, Effector, Actor


About this book

This volume is a comprehensive, critical introduction to vertebrate zooarchaeology, the field that explores the history of human relations with animals from the Pliocene to the Industrial Revolution.​ The book is organized into five sections, each with an introduction, that leads the reader systematically through this swiftly expanding field. Section One presents a general introduction to zooarchaeology, key definitions, and an historical survey of the emergence of zooarchaeology in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and introduces  the conceptual approach taken in the book. This volume is designed to allow readers to integrate data from the book along with that acquired elsewhere within a coherent analytical framework. Most of its chapters take the form of critical “review articles,” providing a portal into both the classic and current literature and contextualizing these with original commentary. Summaries of findings are enhanced by profuse illustrations by the author and others.​  


“Zooarchaeology is the study of animal remains from archaeological deposits. Gifford-Gonzalez (emer., Univ. of California, Santa Cruz) has worked on such remains for nearly 40 years, with an emphasis on vertebrates (especially mammals) from early agricultural contexts. … the text covers aspects of interpretation, including human interaction with prey animals, human behavioral ecology and group relations, and some thoughts for the future of zooarchaeology. … Summing Up: Highly recommended. Advanced undergraduates and above.” (E. Delson, Choice, Vol. 56 (03), November, 2018)    

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

    Diane Gifford-Gonzalez

About the author

Diane Gifford-Gonzalez is among the first cohort of archaeologists trained in faunal analysis and has authored numerous publications, including many widely cited as major formulations of zooarchaeological theory and method. She takes an international perspective, having researched in Africa and western North America and offered advanced seminars and workshops in the USA, Argentina, China, Kenya, Norway, and Spain. She is an elected member of the Committee of Honor, International Council of Archaeozoology (ICAZ).   

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: An Introduction to Zooarchaeology

  • Authors: Diane Gifford-Gonzalez

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-319-65680-9Published: 13 April 2018

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-09746-2Published: 21 December 2018

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-65682-3Published: 03 April 2018

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXIII, 604

  • Number of Illustrations: 133 b/w illustrations, 4 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Archaeology

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