Zooarchaeology Collection

Zooarchaeology Collection

The Zooarchaeology Collection is a collection of mammal, bird, reptiles, fish and invertebrate (shellfish) specimens. It contains skeletal specimens of native Australian, common domesticated and introduced fauna, and a variety of species from across the Southeast Asian and Pacific region.

The collection is significant as it is actively used in teaching and research within different Archaeology sub-disciplines, including Zooarchaeology, Taxonomy, Taphonomy, Palaeobiology and Human Environments. It also includes a number of rare, extinct (e.g. Tasmanian tiger) and endangered species (e.g. several primate and large predator species) that are scientifically significant.

The purpose of this Collection is to provide a source of comparative skeletal anatomy data. This collection is fundamental in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology and in Archaeology & Natural History teaching and research agenda to investigate human-environmental interactions, human behaviour, and subsistence strategies from zooarchaeological assemblages dated from prehistoric to modern times in Eurasia, Mainland and Island Southeast Asia and Oceania.

Our specimens are accessed on a regular basis by students and staff as part of ANU undergraduate and postgraduate courses and programs, HDR research projects and theses, and externally and internally funded research projects (e.g. ARC, Gerda Henkel Foundation, National Geographic). Domestic and international visitors regularly access our research collection. Some of the Collection specimens are regularly showcased in public events such as ANU Open Day, Science Week and Science in ACTion. 
The management of the collection is shared between the School of Archaeology and Anthropology (College of Arts and Social Sciences, CASS) and Archaeology and National History (College of Asia Pacific, CAP). 


Skullbook (hyperlink: https://sketchfab.com/CDHR_ANU/collections/skullbook-digital-bone-library) is a collaborative project between the School of Archaeology and Anthropology and the Centre for Digital Humanities Research at ANU. The project will improve the access to unique specimens in the collection by producing digital 3D models of faunal bones in the collection. These models are available on Open Access platforms to be downloaded or 3D printed. The digital bone library is a resource for students, educators, museums, and researchers in both Australia and worldwide.


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Updated:  9 November 2020/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications