The Laboratory is based at the Museo de Antropología, Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Its setting up was funded by the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET), and subsequently by SECyT (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba). Previously, during planification, we had the support of Fundación Antorchas.

The Laboratory is aimed at developing different lines of research

  • on the archaeological problems in the arid zones of Southern South America based on the archaeofaunal and taphonomic records, and
  • on more general methodological and theoretical aspects of these disciplines.

It seeks to become a new research node focused in the study of archaeological animal remains and the processes that form this record. More specifically, it aims at contributing to the development of zooarchaeology and taphonomy at the scale of Southern South America as a problem itself, a relatively undeveloped area of enquiry, by housing different investigations that are being carried out in this Neotropical region and by addressing broad scale research problems (see Muñoz y Mondini 2007, 2008 in the “publicaciones” section of this blog). This way, it aims at:

  • figuring out the general trends in the interactions between human populations and the Neotropical fauna, as well as the taphonomic processes characterizing this archaeofaunal record;
  • further understanding the relationship between these trends and the biogeographic history of the region and the Neotropics generally;
  • accounting for some of the particularities of human-animal relationships and of the properties of the resulting record relative to other biogeographic regions;
  • deepening our knowledge on the human populations that inhabited the region in the past, as well as on the Quaternary faunal communities generally, as the zooarchaeological record is a valuable source of information in this regard, and
  • understanding the historical processes at different scales that have led to the region’s faunal communities as they are at present, and the incidence of anthropic factors upon them.

Hence, two kinds of problems are involved: those specific to archaeology, and others crosscutting multiple disciplines, such as anthropology, history, paleontology, ecology, and conservation biology.

Among the subjects to be studied are:

  • taphonomy in unsaturated communities;
  • zooarchaeology in high latitude, highly oceanic contexts, high altitude deserts, and other Neotropical environments;
  • the consequences of the biogeographic filters and barriers in the region;
  • the faunal communities inhabiting the region during human dispersal and its implications;
  • animal domestication, and
  • the varying consequences of the introduction of European fauna in these contexts.

Some currently ongoing research projects deal with:

  • Zooarchaeology of early Puna hunter-gatherers
  • Zooarchaeology of Holocenic hunter-gatherers of Southern Patagonia
  • Taphonomy of the action of pumas and small South American carnivore
  • Taphonomy and zooarchaeology of pinniped remains

(See “publicaciones” section of this blog to find downloadable files of these topics).

LaZTA – English pdf

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