Landscape Interactions and Zooarchaeology

Faunal Interest Group Symposium



Saturday March 18, 2017

Anthropology Department, University of Toronto, 19 Russell Street

 Room AP130, 9:00am-5:30pm


Zooarchaeology studies human-animal interactions in the past, investigating such questions as our early hunting and scavenging adaptations, the origins of animal domestication, and the incorporation of animals into our society and economy, both physically and symbolically.  As such, zooarchaeology has major intersections with other disciplines, including Biology, Geography, Paleontology, and Zoology.  The Anthropology Department of the University of Toronto has a strong tradition of zooarchaeological research, scholarship, and training.  Arising from this background, the Faunal Interest Group began in 2007 as a graduate-student initiative and continues to meet regularly to review important developments in the field of zooarchaeology. Today, with the support of the Archaeology Centre, it continues to be a productive forum for discussion around emerging research in zooarchaeology, including undergraduates, graduates and faculty members. The uses of landscape and environment by humans in the past is one of these significant topics.


Zooarchaeological research has been an integral tool in exploring past human interaction with the natural landscape. This symposium seeks to address the ways that scholars are currently investigating the human use of landscape and environment from a zooarchaeological perspective. This includes spatial analyses, ecological considerations, and political dynamics of interregional interactions. We hope that participants will consider the balance of theory and method within their papers to consider the advancements that this intersection can provide to our understanding of the past. The objectives of this symposium are as follows:

       -to consider the patterns surrounding landscape interactions within site, regional and inter-regional contexts;

       -to consider the ways that resource distribution and landscape exploitation impact on social, political and ideological spheres of various   archaeological periods and regions, and;

       -to address the impact of recent theoretical discussions on the kinds of questions ooarchaeologists ask regarding human-landscape interactions.


With a strong community of students studying zooarchaeology, a symposium focusing on the uses of zooarchaeology within the larger archaeology discipline will contribute greatly to the academic community at the University of Toronto and beyond. This forum will facilitate greater discussion among undergraduate and graduate students, and create opportunities for dialogue with professors and other established researchers at the interdisciplinary level. This symposium will bring together a diverse array of zooarchaeologists working in different time periods and geographic regions, each representing distinct levels of social and technological complexity. The collaboration of organizers and participants from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom will produce insightful discussions into salient aspects of zooarchaeological research relating to landscape dynamics. In the end, this symposium will foster a more collaborative zooarchaeological community by providing a setting for discussion.  The University of Toronto seeks to enhance the exchange of ideas and to encourage the pursuit of new insights.  This symposium will be an important step toward expanding the discussion of landscape studies within the broader subjects of archaeology and zooarchaeology.