Zooarch, A Statistical Package for Zooarchaeologists


Zooarchaeologists address some of today’s “big-questions” related to human evolution, social competition and exploitation, big-game hunting and the origins of domestication. These questions are frequently answered by systematically observing the appropriate zooarchaeological assemblages and quantifying and analyzing suitable data. Techniques used throughout data collection and analysis include sampling, frequency distributions of bone counts, butchery marks , taphonomic modification, and GIS analysis. Many of these techniques require sophisticated statistical tools. However, there is currently no software package available across all computer platforms designed to deal with analyses specific to zooarchaeological problems. Here, we present “zooaRch,” a statistical package within the R computing environment, which provides a means for flexibly integrating a broad range of analyses to conform to project-specific goals. Functions in zooaRch allow users to import, manipulate, visualize, and analyze zooarchaeological data. Moreover, zooaRch is open source, freely distributed, customizable, and its graphical user interface is easy to use within the R computing environment. We provide analytical examples using survivorship and mortality analyses, skeletal part-frequency analyses and simulations, and taxa ratio analysis.

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Zooarch, A Statistical Package for Zooarchaeologists. Erik Otárola-Castillo, Max Price, Jesse Wolfhagen. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403604)