The Grahame Clark Laboratory for Zooarchaeology at the University of Cambridge is home to researchers working on various aspects of animal remains including palaeodietary and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, animal domestication, taphonomy and symbolic aspects of faunal remains. In addition, the laboratory includes researchers working on human skeletal material from historic and prehistoric contexts.
Teaching and Research
A yearly zooarchaeology course is taught to undergraduate and graduate students; human osteology is taught on a biannual basis. This provides a basic training in faunal and human osteological analysis and forms the basis for future research open to such students through dissertation or project work. The course is supported by the annual experimental butchery practical for zooarchaeologists, Palaeolithic/Mesolithic students and Flint enthusiasts. This provides an opportunity to teach the applications of experimental work within the field of zooarchaeology. Researchers within the laboratory periodically hold seminars on their research such that developments can be seen and a network of support is formed between members. Further to this the laboratory is active within the wider group of zooarchaeologists, attending conferences and presenting work.
The Laboratory houses a large collection of skeletal material from modern samples, which is used as a comparative source for the identification of archaeological specimens. Continuous development and expansion of the collection provides coverage of intra-species variations such as sexual dimorphism, breeds, and age differences. The skeletal collection is comprised mainly of wild and domestic mammals from Europe and Asia, with a good sample of fish, birds and small mammals. It also has some African wild cat species, marine mammals and molluscs. Further to this, the Laboratory boasts an excellent collection of analytical equipment including several high-powered microscopes with photographic equipment, computing facilities and carcass-preparation equipment.