Conference Themes

Sessions will have the format of paper presentations (20 min max.) and may also include poster presentations. “Poster only” sessions and round tables may also be proposed.

We welcome all subjects related to zooarchaeology but we would like to especially encourage sessions woven around:

  • Regional and synthetic approaches seeking to draw the “big” picture of animal use as a component of the economic, social and ideological part of the community.
  • Introducing new techniques and evaluate our methods, especially in comparison with evidence from other archaeological or historical sources.
  • Defining the role of zooarchaeology in modern archaeology, the scientific community and contemporary society.
  • We would also like to stimulate research in areas under-investigated and give opportunities to colleagues from countries with low representation in ICAZ to disseminate their work and form links with our community. We particularly invite participation from the Black Sea, Caspian Sea, North Africa and neighbouring regions.

Seas are both separating and connecting bodies. They impose limitations and offer opportunities. Settlements built in the sea shore have less agricultural land available but they have a whole range of marine resources available. They have fewer land places to turn when in need but they have a whole world to reach if they sail. They have the advantage of trade, material resources and supplies coming with it whether these are necessities or luxury and the exotic. In the cases of islands, habitats can be unique and fragile. This theme seeks to explore: How the animal economies of costal settlements are formed under the influence of their proximity to the sea; how they differ from the ones in their hinterlands; how trade and through it contact with other cultures shaped economic behaviour, consumption patterns and taste; how ideas, economic systems and even animals were “transported” by sea; how these “new-comers” may have affected local populations and ecosystems.

Within this theme special attention will be given to the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and the Caucasus mountain area. Zooarchaeological work in these areas is not sufficiently disseminated. Some regions are little explored. But they played important role from the very early Palaeolithic times to very recent periods as corridors over which humans and cultures migrated.

It has become a habit in zooarchaeological studies to reconstruct animal husbandry on the basis that rational decisions were made by animal keepers seeking maximum returns. Nevertheless, other mechanisms have also influenced and regulated such decisions. These include formal states and their components such as official religion as well as informal powers and ideologies, habits and socially “expected” behaviours. State and ideology intervene through laws, taxes, support or restriction of markets/marketing, rationing, warfare and politics, prohibitions, exclusion of social groups from certain forms of consumption or deliberate participation, regularly held festivals, feasts and fasts, banquets and dinners with formalised hospitality expectations are all factors that influence both the animal economy and the decisions of the individual on what to raise and what to eat. This theme aims to explore the extent to which, and, the ways these mechanisms shaped aspects of animal husbandry perhaps even against the “maximum return” policy. It asks how states and expanding empires transformed local populations and their relation to animals. In addition, it seeks to combine evidence from animal bones with information coming from the records of such formalised behaviour; written laws and regulations, treatments on animal raising, archives/bills of grand kitchens and palaces, literature and art and even old cookbooks and housekeeping guides. It also addresses the question of how much of these are actually visible in the archaeological record and through this question an evaluation of our methodological tools is posed.

The rapid development of techniques in scientific fields such as chemistry, biology and information technology and their readily loans to our discipline has created a number of “sub-fields of interest” within zooarchaeology. As much as it is mandatory to follow up, update and introduce new methodologies, it is also nesecery to define sufficiently the applicability, reliability and usefulness of these techniques and what is more their integration and contribution to our interpretations as a whole. Together with these comes the need to define the place and role of zooarchaeology as a part of the archaeology world, the scientific community but also our contemporary society. This last one props the simple but vital question of “Who else is ever going to read our reports apart from us”. Under this theme topics related to advances in method and theory in zooarchaeology are invited. Importance is put on issues of communicating our work to a wider audience, approaching the public but also the “stakeholders”.

Contact Details

13th ICAZ International Conference will be held at the Cultural and Convention Center at METU, Ankara, Turkey 2nd-7th September 2018
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