Beyond Collections: The Implications of Large Scale Databases for Zooarchaeological Research

Date and Time: 
Friday, 18 March, 2016 - 14:00
Ramirez Thomas
, Nicole A. - State of New Mexico Historic Preservation Division
, Kendall - State of New Mexico Historic Preservation Division

Traditional zooarchaeological research uses collections data from specific sites or regions to draw conclusions about the use of animal resources in prehistory. This paper explores the utility of large scale archaeological databases in addressing research questions in zooarchaeology. Many states now maintain digital databases of their cultural resources; however as this practice is relatively new the research potential of these databases has yet to be fully realized. We will examine how zooarchaeological research questions can be addressed using the largest statewide cultural resources database, the New Mexico Cultural Resource Information System (NMCRIS), which contains roughly 190,000 sites, 5,000 of which report faunal remains from survey, testing, and excavation activities. We will demonstrate how the NMCRIS system can be used to generate archaeofaunal datasets and ways in which data can be used to test current assumptions about archaeological sites with reported archaeofaunal remains.