Why are we doing archaeozoological fieldwork in Svalbard?
To address this question, we need to understand what archaeozoology can offer. Our study focuses on animal remains which we find at former slaughtering sites, where animals were killed and their useful parts got exploited. These animal remains, now mostly scattered bones, can provide a basis for quantifying the extent of human impact due to whaling, hunting, and trapping of different game animals. On this occasion, the data can tell us a story about humans entering a pristine ecosystem. It unravels the history of their settlements, the social organisation, their use of resources, but it also reflects shifts in usage.
As a benefit, archaeozoology is making use of a variety of disciplines (anthropology, archaeology, biology, chemistry, ecology, and geology) and hence it constitutes a truly interdisciplinary research approach. Thus, it can generate time depth in biological and ecological data and offer an important insight into historical events, the changes in species composition, the development of the ecosystem structure, and therefore into the interaction between humans, animals, and the environment they both share.
Last update: 04 Mar 2021