The domestication of animals was perhaps one of the most important developments in human history. It is a phenomenon that has transformed human life over the last 15,000 years, with the term 'domestic animal' being a familiar one to every person on the planet. And yet this fundamental state is still poorly understood in terms of its basic definitions and the processes that occurred to bring this state about, being seen by many simply as a 'state of being'.
Given the central role of domestication in zooarchaeological research, it is no surprise that one of the major sessions at the ICAZ meeting in Durham, 2002 was devoted to this issue. These papers look at the process of domestication and the wider context of what this has meant, and continues to mean, for us. This is a relatively new area of study and the contributions to this volume contain much new research.
Preface (Umberto Albarella, Keith Dobney and Peter Rowley-Conwy); New archaeological approaches to trace the first steps of animal domestication: General presentation, reflections and proposals (Jean-Denis Vigne, Daniel Helmer and Joris Peters); Principles and concepts. Experimental animal domestication and its application to the study of animal exploitation in prehistory (Benjamin S. Arbuckle); The domestication of the wolf - the inevitable first? (Werner Muller); Breaking the mould: A consideration of variation in the evolution of animal domestication (Ricahrd W. Redding); New techniques and their application. Assessing the origin and diffusion of domestic goats using ancient DNA (Helena Fernandez et al); Kernel smoothing and mixture analyses for the determination of the sex ratios at death, at the beginning of domestication of ungulates (Herve Monchot et al); Two novel methods for the study of dental morphological variation in Sus scrofa, in order to identify separate breeding groups within archaeological assemblages (Sylvia Warman); Animal domestication in West Asia. Pig exploitation at Hagoshrim: A prehistoric site in the southern Levant (Annat Haber et al); Identifying early domestic cattle from Pre-Pottery Neolithic sites on the middle Euphrates using sexual dimorphism (Daniel Helmer et al); The upper Euphrates-Tigris basin: Cradle of agro-pastoralism? (Joris Peters et al); A view from the Zagros: New perspectives on livestock domestication in the fertile crescent (Melinda A. Zeder); Animal domestication in East Asia. Wild pig Or domesticated boar? An archaeological view on the domestication of Sus scrofa in Japan (Akira Matsui et al); Wild boar remains from the Neolithic (Jomon Period) sites on the Izu Islands and in Hokkaido Island, Japan (Yamazaki Kyomi et al).
edited by J D Vigne, J Peters and D Helmer