NNMK17001U Cancelled: Zooarchaeology: Identifying Faunal Remains

Volume 2017/2018

During this bioarchaeology course you will learn to identify and analyse fish and bird remains from archaeological contexts. Further, the course offers an introduction to the analyses of insect and mollusk  remains from sediments and deposits. The students will get an understanding of the potentials of bioarchaeological methods and be able to evaluate environmental studies based on  zooarchaeology. The varios taxonomic invertebrate and vertebrate groups are treated by specialists.

Learning Outcome

Knowledge on:

  • The general skeletal anatomy of fishes and birds and their adaptations to various habitats.
  • An overview of the North European fauna history with a special focus on fish and birds, including the introduction of early domestic bird species into Denmark.
  • Sampling strategies for obtaining representative materials of insects, molluscs, fish and birds suited for modern methods of analysis.
  • Traditional and modern methods of analysing subfossil fish and bird bones from archaeological and natural deposits.
  • How the various methods can be applied to, e.g., subsistence analyses and  paleoenvironmental studies.
  • A detailed knowledge of one or more subjects within the discipline of zooarchaeology obtained through the execution of a minor project.



By the end of the course the students are expected to have acquired the following skills:

  • A solid understanding of the discipline of zooarchaeology with a special focus on identification and analyses of skeletal remains from fish and birds.
  • Be able to recognize the different skeletal elements from fish and birds and identify those from a variety of the most commonly found Danish species or taxonomic groups.
  • An understanding of the potential of using insect and mollusk remains in paleoenvironmental studies.



  • By the end of the course the students are expected to have acquired the following competences: 
  • Have a comprehensive overview of and be able to discuss traditional and modern methods of analyses of fish and bird bone remains.
  • Understand and be able to explain the potential of analyses of archaeological remains from insects and molluscs.
  • Identification and analyses of vertebrate bone remains within the discipline of zooarchaeology by applying the basic methods.


Please find information on Absalon


Wheeler, A. & Jones, A.K.J. 1989. Fishes. Cambridge Manuals in Archaeology. Cambridge University Press.


Serjeantson, D. 2009. Birds. Cambridge manuals in Archaeology. Cambridge University Press (a selection of chapters).


BSc degree in archaeology, BSc degree in biology or BSc degree in geology.
It is preferred but not required that the students have passed the course of Zooarchaeology at the BSc level.
Teaching comprises of lectures and practical exercise during the first 5-6 weeks followed by a supervised individual or group-work during the last 2-3 weeks. The resulting report will be part of the final examination.
The course is relevant to students from archaeology, biology and geology.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 3
  • Guidance
  • 10
  • Lectures
  • 24
  • Practical exercises
  • 12
  • Preparation
  • 81
  • Project work
  • 76
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes (no preparation time)
Written assignment, 2 weeks
The oral examination takes its starting point in the written assignment representing the results of a small individual or group project conducted during the course. The written assignment must be handed in prior to the exam week.

The grade is based on an overall assessment of the oral examination and the written assignment.

The written assignment and the oral exam does not have to be passed in the same exam-period.
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.

As ordinary exam.

The same or revised written assignment must be handed in before the Re-exam.

Criteria for exam assesment

See description