Consulting the past

analysis of faunal remains from archaeological sites is a specialty of Dr. Otter; his master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation were both related to faunal studies.  Edward Otter, Inc. maintains an extensive comparative collection of faunal material.  Services are provided as needed to archaeological firms

            Analyses generally go beyond the identification of the animals represented in the collection.  The project goals and nature of the collection drive the level of analysis. Larger samples provide more information and collections with fine mesh recovery provide a more complete picture of the diet of past peoples.

            Portions of animals representing specific cuts of meat can be identified.  This type of analysis may have implications in examining the ethnic or social status of the site occupants.  Changes in marketing brought on by technological advances of refrigeration and rapid transit (trains and trucks) might also be expressed in the portions of animals present.

            Examining the various animals present can provide clues to past environments and hunting or fishing territories.  Feasting and other social indications might also be examined through the diversity of the assemblage.

Otter, Edward

1989    Archaeological Faunal Analysis from Two
Cabin Run Sites (44WR3 & 44WR300) Warren County, Virginia
.  Masters Thesis, Catholic University of
America, Washington D.C.


2002    The
Interpretation of Late Nineteenth Century Faunal Remains Through the Analysis
of Written Texts
. Ph. D. Dissertation, Catholic University of America,
Washington, D.C.