Animal hard tissues were highly valuable resources in prehistoric technology. Spears, points and beads made of bone, ivory and antler, for example, are usually recovered in archaeological deposits associated with a range of activities, from dietary to ideological contexts. It is not clear whether artefact production was a mere function of the tangible physical properties of animal hard tissues available or entangled the intangible ideological values of the animals used. This fundamental question cannot be easily solved using traditional archaeozoological analysis because prehistoric manufacture often removed diagnostic features for taxonomic identification. This project will unlock this question by applying palaeoproteomic analysis (ZooMS: ZooArchaeology by Mass Spectrometry), for the taxonomic identification of a range of bone artefacts from Neolithic sites in the Iberian Peninsula. Using minimally destructive approaches for collagen extraction, the project will explore whether specific taxa had a particular place in the manufacturing process of artefacts made with animal hard tissues. You will integrate the results with contextual and regional archaeological faunal information to investigate the degree of opportunism/selection in bone tool manufacture in past prehistoric societies.
PhD starting October 2021 and recruiting now.
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