Zooarchaeology Lab

Zooarchaeology Lab

The UNLV Zooarchaeology Laboratory was established by Levent Atici in September 2008. The lab is located in Room 102 on the first floor of John S. Wright Hall - Building C. The lab offers students and researchers ample work and storage space for analysis of archaeological animal bone assemblages from across the world. A yearly zooarchaeology laboratory course introduces the basic tenets of zooarchaeology and gives undergraduate and graduate students hands-on training and an ability to identify, document, analyze, interpret, and report archaeological animal bone assemblages. The lab also provides students a large corpus of faunal manuals, osteology atlases, books, and reprints related to zooarchaeological research.

Contact

Dr. Levent Atici
Director
Email: levent.atici@unlv.edu
Phone: 702-895-0567

Lab

Analytical Tools

The lab is equipped with cutting-edge analytical tools including a 3-D laser scanner, a Leica digital stereo zoom microscope with photographic equipment, three Leica stereo zoom microscopes, a portable Nikon microscope, digital calipers, electronic balances, fume hood, a convection oven, two computer stations with printer, scanner, and various software platforms, carcass preparation equipment and access to wet area and sinks outside the lab.

Analytical Tool
Analytical Tool
Analytical Tool

Comparative Collection

As reliable and accurate identification of animal remains from archaeological sites depends on the availability and accessibility of a good comparative collection of modern specimens with known species, age, and sex information, it is essential for the lab to expand its collections. Such collections also facilitate teaching comparative osteology, zooarchaeological methods, and taphonomy, as well as enable students and researchers to engage in the analysis of archaeofaunal assemblages from Nevada and surrounding areas.

Comparative Collection

Currently, the modern reference collection largely contains disarticulated skeletons of wild and domestic vertebrates from southwest Asia and eastern Mediterranean. It also has many skeletons of terrestrial and marine mammals from southwestern United States.

Comparative Collection

Besides the expanding modern reference collection, excavated faunal assemblages from Körtik Tepe (a pre-pottery Neolithic site in southeast Turkey) and Kültepe (a major Assyrian Trading Colonies center in central Turkey) are currently housed in the lab for comprehensive analyses.

Comparative Collection

Current Research Projects

Conducted by Levent Atici

  1. Origins of the Agricultural Revolution in the SW Asia and its Spread into Europe
    Kortik Tepe in Southeast Turkey|Ugurlu Höyük in Northwest Turkey

    I focus on various social and economic characteristics of the Neolithic Revolution and their reflections on anima exploitation strategies. Toward this end, I conduct faunal analysis at PPNA Körtik Tepe near Diyarbakir, Southeas Turkey. I also explore the spread of emerging Neolithic economies with domesticated animals and plants into Europe using faunal assemblages from Uğurlu Höyük, an early Neolithic site on the Turkish island of Gökçeada in the Aegean Sea.
Current Research Project 1
  1. Zooarchaeology of Complex Societies with an Emphasis on Ethnicity, Colonialism, and Settlement Hierarchy Kultepe/Kanesh and Kaman-Kalehoyuk in Central Turkey
    I conduct complementary research at two Central Anatolian Bronze Age sites: Kültepe/Kanesh and Kaman-Kalehöyük — a major Assyrian Trade Colony center and a small village site, respectively. Combining the results of research from these two sites, I seek to illuminate the social and economic characteristics of the Central Anatolian Bronze Age through developing a picture of the exploitation of animal resources and providing insight into the roles played by different levels of socioeconomic and political organization, such as small villages and urban centers. The study of animal bones has not yet been employed to any great degree to investigate the socioeconomic foundations of the central Anatolian Bronze Age. Thus, my research will contribute to the archaeology of Turkey and the Near East by approaching an important archaeological question from a new perspective, that of zooarchaeology.
Current Research Project 2

Ongoing Research Affiliations

Ongoing Research Affiliations
  1. Assistant Director, Kültepe-Kanesh excavations (Kayseri, Central Turkey)
  2. Principal zooarchaeologist, Kaman Kalehöyük excavations (Kırşehir, Central Turkey)
  3. Principal zooarchaeologist, Uğurlu Höyük excavations (Gökçeada, NW Turkey)
  4. Coordinator, the Zooarchaeology Laboratory of the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology, Kırşehir, Turkey

Research Opportunities and Supervision

I am very happy to supervise graduate students willing to pursue careers in anthropological archaeology with a research emphasis on zooarchaeology. I am also happy to provide qualified students with access to research facilities, fieldwork, and dissertation material in Turkey. Research topics may range from paleolithic forager adaptations to origins of farming to evolution of specialized pastoral economies in the Near East in general, and in Turkey in particular.

Research Opportunities and Supervision

Students Affiliated with the Lab

Sarah MacIntosh
Research Interests: Complex societies, prehistoric technology, experimental archaeology, worked bone and antler
Email: macinto2@unlv.nevada.edu

Virginia Lucas
Research Interests: Complex societies, Zooarchaeology, Iron Age, Romania, Southeastern and Southwestern United States; Exchange Economies; Subsistence Strategies