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Possibilities and limitations of the use of archaeozoological data in biogeographical analysis: a review with examples from the Benelux region
Ervynck, A. (1999). Possibilities and limitations of the use of archaeozoological data in biogeographical analysis: a review with examples from the Benelux region. Belg. J. Zool. 129(1): 125-138
In: Belgian Journal of Zoology. Koninklijke Belgische Vereniging voor Dierkunde = Société royale zoologique de Belgique: Gent. ISSN 0777-6276, more
Peer reviewed article  

Also published as
  • Ervynck, A. (1999). Possibilities and limitations of the use of archaeozoological data in biogeographical analysis: a review with examples from the Benelux region, in: Mees, J. (Ed.) Proceedings of the 5th Benelux Congress of Zoology Gent, 6-7 November 1998. Belgian Journal of Zoology, 129(1): pp. 125-138, more

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Abstract
    Archaeozoology is the study of interactions between man and other animals through time, by the analysis of animal remains and traces found during archaeological excavations. Gradually, it has also been recognised by the 'mainstream' zoological world that archaeozoological data can provide insight into the evolution or regional variation of the Late Pleistocene and Holocene faunas of the Low Countries, just as palaeontological research does for older periods. The wide scope of recent archaeozoological research is, however, often not fully recognised, not only in terms of taxonomic diversity, but also with regard to the detail of information gathered. This review highlights these interpretative possibilities, but also outlines the possible limitations of archaeozoological datasets. These limitations are linked with the characteristics of the sites investigated, i.e. the conditions affecting preservation, the formation processes, the cultural framework, or the origin of the deposits. The dataset is also based by archaeological methodology, particularly in relation to the sampling and recovery of organic remains. Furhtermore, the information gathered will differ strongly between taxa, according to their taphonomic status, their place within different human cultures, the chances of fossilisation of their remains, and eventual identification problems. When the limiting factors described are not known or not well understood, the use of archaeozoological data in faunal reconstructions may lead to false conclusions.

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