The University of Exeter’s Archaeology department recently played host to a team meeting of the NeoMilk project, in which Professor Alan Outram and his PhD student Emily Johnson are heavily involved. The NeoMilk project investigates where and when (and indeed why) dairying arose in temperate Neolithic Europe, through lipid residue analysis of pottery and faunal analysis of carcass processing and husbandry practices. Another vital element of the project is the chronicling, mapping and correlating patterns of environmental and cultural change related to animal management and milk use.
One of the advanced osteology courses available to archaeology master’s students is Advanced Zooarchaeology, which aims to provide a sophisticated appreciation of the theory and practice of zooarchaeology and how bone assemblages can be interpreted. As part of this course students have been participating in a practical session on Fracture and Fragmentation in faunal assemblages. The students were split into three groups and given three different assemblages to work on – a waterlogged Iron Age site, a medieval castle and material from medieval Exeter.
Naomi Sykes came to talk to us about the work of the Fallow Deer project. In a fascinating presentation she divulged a wealth of information about Dama dama past and present, and how the work of the project will impact, and is indeed already impacting, the future.