Animal ecologists can observe the present and reconstruct the last one or two centuries from historical sources, but the study of animal bones adds valuable insight into the peoples and landscapes of the past while telling much about the evolution of human-animal relationships. In this standard work, now available in paperback, O’Connor offers a detailed overview of the study of animal bones. He analyzes bone composition and structure and the archaeological evidence left by the processes of life, death, and decomposition. He goes on to look at how bone is excavated, examined, described, identified, measured, and reassembled into skeletons. The bulk of the book is devoted to the interpretation of bone fragments, which tell much about the animals themselves—their health, growth, diet, injuries, and age at death.
What Readers Are Saying:
“This is a wonderful book for anybody who loves (as I do) the language of bones. O’Connor writes extraordinarily well and this is a book that will engage anybody interested in the topic, whether from the perspective of the animals themselves or the people who exploited them. While he is one of the primary experts in the field, he does not lost non-academic readers through jargon or droning lists of obscure details. He also shares the inferential processes involved in the deep and engaging detective work he performs to understand how our ancestors lived. It is fascinating to be exposed to his world.” --Discovery
“...proves to be a useful guide not only for zooarchaeologists and even paleontologists alike, but for mainstream archaeologists as well....The text is straightforward and easy to read, heavily illustrated, and referenced, useful for an introduction to the field....the clear, step-wise approach by the author, and the broad scientific appeal of the volume makes it highly effective in illustrating the potential of vertebrates in telling a story of the past.” --Tim Tokaryk, Canadian Field Naturalist