Elizabeth S. Wing
University of Florida
An abiding interest of mime is comparative osteology and I have applied this to studies of the fragmentary animal remains excavated from archaeological sites. The objectives of this research are to better understand prehistoric human uses of animal resources. Animal remains represent species obtained for food, those managed or domestic, and introduced species. Inferences can be made about environmental conditions based on the animal used keeping in mind that the species recovered from archaeological sites represent a selection of available species. To maximize the information that can be gained from such faunal samples, whenever possible, the component of the archaeological deposits re recovered using a fine gauge recovery strategy and samples are of adequate sizes to be representative of the deposit. For holistic studies, all fragments are identified to the lowest possible taxon. We try to identify all vertebrate remain and mollusks, echinoderms, and crustaceans among invertebrates. Measurement of critical feature of the fragments that correlate with body size of the organisms can provide indications of overexploitation and conditions of herd animals. Ages at death of the represented organisms are taken when possible to assess the hunting pressures or slaughter strategies of domestic animals in the past. Integration of comparable studies of macrobotanical remains adds further information about past human ecology and environmental conditions.