Simple Measures for Integrating Plant and Animal Remains

  • Amber M. VanDerwarker


Numerous simple measures are available for integrating both archaeological plant and animal data. It is difficult to provide a complete coverage of all these measures in this chapter for lack of space (for further reading see Grayson 1984; Hastorf and Popper 1988; Reitz and Wing 2008). Hence, the focus is on simple yet common measures that can be used to characterize both types of data, producing results that can be compared to achieve a broader understanding of ancient subsistence: ubiquity, diversity, ratios, correlation, and spatial analysis. For each measure, basic information is provided on the method of calculation and the method of ­integration of plant and animal data.

The published cases that have attempted to integrate plant and animal data using these measures are also discussed. The introductory chapter to this volume briefly discussed publications that incorporate both archaeological plant and animal data. Most of the works cited treat plant and animal data separately in terms of analysis and quantification, followed by an interpretive discussion that integrates independent patterns in a qualitative and complementary fashion. Very few authors have actually attempted to quantitatively integrate plant and animal datasets; these are the cases that have particular relevance to this chapter. I begin with a review of simple comparative measures and discuss the best way to arrive at appropriate comparative results. Most of the more integrative measures (also discussed below) can build on these simple measures.


Animal Data Animal Taxon Late Archaic Collar Peccary Animal Assemblage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The National Science Foundation deserves recognition for funding the ­analysis of plant and animal data from the site of Bezuapan as part of a doctoral dissertation grant (#9912271). I also thank Katherine Spielmann and several anonymous reviewers for comments on earlier versions of this text. Conversations with C. Margaret Scarry over the past several years have greatly shaped how I conceptualize methods for data integration. Finally, I acknowledge the research of Katherine Spielmann, Eric Angstadt-Leto, Beverley Smith, Kathy Egan-Bruhy, Cathy Crane, and H. Sorayya Carr for leading the way with cutting edge integration of plant and animal remains.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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