Sarah Neusius, along with her colleagues Beverley Smith of the University of Michigan–Flint and Bonnie Styles of the Illinois State Museum, recently presented a paper titled “The Eastern Archaic Faunal Working Group: Database Preservation, Comparability and Integration for Archaic Period Faunal Data” at the joint meeting of the Ontario Archaeological Society (OAS) and the Eastern States Archaeological Federation (ESAF) in Midland, Ontario. The paper was given on October 18, 2015.
This paper described the work of the Eastern Archaic Faunal Working Group (EAFWG), a group of zoo-archaeologists who are working to preserve and integrate existing faunal databases dating between approximately 10,000 and 3,000 years ago collected from archaeological sites in the interior of the North American Eastern Woodlands. These databases provide information about the use of animals for food and other uses and have been collected by various researchers over the past 50 years.
The EAFWG is working within the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR), a digital repository for archaeological data of all kinds, which promises to maintain file accessibility in perpetuity. This repository also provides tools for database integration even among datasets not structured in similar ways. These integrative tools allows analysis to be conducted at multiple scales, and the kinds of complicated research questions addressed by modern archaeologists to be considered more thoroughly.
Currently the EAFWG members are exploring issues of databases comparability with particular attention to taphonomic processes and the archaeological contexts from which the animal bones were recovered. The EAFWG project has been funded by the National Science Foundation, and Neusius is a co-principal investigator for the project along with Styles. Besides Smith, zoo-archaeologists from five other institutions are members of the EAFWG.
Department of Anthropology