The zooarchaeology laboratory at UMass Boston is dedicated to the study of the complex interrelationship between people and animals, through the analysis and interpretation of faunal remains recovered from archaeological sites. These studies investigate a range of topics, from past uses of wild food resources, to dietary practices, animal husbandry, and urban foodways. An important interpretive goal of the lab is to look at the intersection of all of these topics with systems of social variation in complex, heterogeneous societies.
Facilities and Collections
The zooarchaeology laboratory (450 sq ft) maintains reference skeletons of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians as a type collection for the identification of materials recovered from sites. The lab has about 400 reference skeletons, with an emphasis on domestic taxa and wild taxa from the Northeast. In addition, the lab holds a small type collection of regional marine bivalves and gastropods for shell identification, and a small library of identification manuals and interpretive studies.
The lab is equipped with workbenches, sinks, dissecting scopes, and a fume hood for specimen processing or use of chemicals. The lab also has equipment for making thin-sections of shell or teeth for studying microstructure on incremental growth patterns. This includes a lapidary saw, Isomet® low speed saw, and Ecomet® grinder. Microscopy equipment for observing thin-sections is shared with the paleoethnobotany lab.
The zooarchaeology lab caries out faunal analysis projects for outside sponsors, as part of student thesis projects, and as part of broader scale collaborative research projects. Recent projects include: 1) the study of historic Eastern Pequot and Nipmuc foodways and agricultural prcatices; 2) a long-term collaboration with Dr. James Garman of Salve Regina on urban foodways in 18th-century Newport, Rhode Island; 3) the study of African American diet and foodways in the Northeast at the Sylvester Manor, the Royall House, the African Meeting House, and the Higginbotham House; and 4) the study of ancient Native American sites in Massachusetts and New York. People interested in faunal analyses through the Fisk Center are encouraged to contact Dr. David Landon.
Recent Graduate Theses
Styger, M. (2010). A Zooarchaeological Analysis of Merchant Foodways in 18th-century Newport. Unpublished Masters Thesis, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA.
Peles, A. (2010). Spanish-American Foodways and Culture Change in Colonial New Mexico. Unpublished Masters Thesis, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA.
Fedore, M. (2008). Consumption and Colonialism: A Zooarchaeological Analysis of Two Eighteenth-Century Sites on the Eastern Pequot Reservation. Unpublished Masters Thesis, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA.
Kennedy, R. (2008). Multi-Cultural Meals: A Zooarchaeological Study of the Plantation Core at Sylvester Manor. Unpublished Masters Thesis, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA.
Malpiedi, J. (2007). Porgy and Bass: A Study of Faunal Remains from the Sandy’s Point Site. Unpublished Masters Thesis, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, MA.
Zooarchaeology Laboratory Location: McCormack 3/117
Director: David Landon.......................................................
Phone: 617.287.6835 .......................................