Beyond Counting Sheep: An Interdisciplinary Review of Faunal Assemblages in the British Pastoral Landscape

Author(s): Roxanne Guildford

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Zooarchaeology and Technology: Case Studies and Applications" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

One of the challenges in zooarchaeological research is to advance new methods of understanding animal husbandry within the past socio-ecological context. Intensification of wool production is typically evidenced in the archaeological record by the increase of sheep remains in species abundance and adult mortality; however, with increasingly complex data sets, classical quantitative methods of taxonomic abundance may not provide robust explanations of human activity based on herd structures alone. The application of computational archaeology to faunal analysis allows for the study of intra- and inter-site variation, as well as the investigation of regional trends with environmental, geographic, and temporal variables. To further explore the changes in sheep husbandry related to wool production in Medieval Britain, this project aims to provide reproducible analysis using computational archaeology to refine interpretations that reject generalizations and test the validity of patterns found in the archaeological record. Data sets from published assemblages are presented in case studies that move beyond regional descriptions of pastoral systems to assess faunal and environmental data with statistical analysis and models. The relevance of computational methods for zooarchaeology is critical for sharing complex data across disciplines, formalizing approaches in quantification, building new research questions, and informing perspectives on site variability.

Cite this Record

Beyond Counting Sheep: An Interdisciplinary Review of Faunal Assemblages in the British Pastoral Landscape. Roxanne Guildford. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450728)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24158