Diet and Health in Past Animal Populations: Current Research and Future Directions

Until recently, osteological studies into ancient diet and health have primarily focused upon human remains. As a result, these areas of research are still in their infancy in the field zoo-archaeology. Animals have paid a heavy price for many major human advances, such as those in agriculture and transport. This use (and often abuse) of animals has left many tell-tale signs in their teeth and bones. Along with the many advantages in animal exploitation have also come major problems for humans. Thus, infectious diseases passed from animals to humans must have long played a significant evolutionary role in the development of society. The zooarchaeological record could provide an extremely important temporal framework for exploring and understanding past and current issues of human health and animal welfare. This volume provides one of the first contributions to the field, and may stimulate many more.