Research at the University of Utah Zooarchaeology Laboratory involves the analysis of archaeological and paleontological vertebrate faunas to understand the complex and long-standing relationships between past people and animal populations. More specifically, Jack M. Broughton and his students have engaged in research involving hunter-gatherer paleoecology and prehistory, especially the analysis of human-and climate-induced change in past faunal landscapes, and their implications for related aspects of human behavior, historical ecology, and modern conservation biology. Quantitative applications of foraging theory models to faunal records in western North America constitutes the core of the empirical work in the lab. Ongoing projects involve the analysis of avian prey choice and patch use by ancient hunters of the San Francisco Bay area; Holocene climate change, artiodactyl population histories, and large game hunting patterns in California, Baja California, and the Great Basin; and ancient DNA and stable isotope tests of proposed human-caused late Holocene population declines in California tule elk and Guadalupe fur seals. Many projects involve close collaboration with the University of Utah Ancient DNA Laboratory and the Research Facility for Stable Isotope Chemistry.
The Zooarchaeology Laboratory is housed within the Archaeological Center and was fully remodeled in 2019. The lab is used both as a research facility as well as a classroom for Zooarchaeology (ANTH 4372). One of the main functions of the lab is the preparation of vertebrate skeletons for the Osteological Reference Collection, the primary tool used in our zooarchaeological research. This collection, the largest of its kind in the Intermountain West, is represented by over 4,100 specimens: including over 500 fish, 700 reptiles and amphibians, 1,200 birds, and 1,700 mammals. All of the specimens we collect and prepare for the collection are accessioned into the Natural History Museum of Utah, but are permanently stored in the Zooarchaeology Lab. With recent collecting and skeletal preparation associated with the Homestead Cave project, the collection includes the largest series of Bonneville Basin fishes in the world. The lab and the reference collection has been an instrumental research tool for a wide range of senior faculty research projects over the last 18 years. The lab and osteological reference collection is also a primary resource of zooarchaeological training for both our undergraduate and graduate students. The collection and laboratory provides the foundation for our Zooarachaeology course (Zooarchaeology (ANTH 4372) and Zooarchaeology and Field Ecology (ANTH 5712-002)) which represent two of the few undergraduate courses where students conduct their own scientific research projects involving the analysis of archaeological materials. We also routinely facilitate undergraduate independent research projects using the lab.
First year Anthropology graduate student Allison Wolfe, was recently awarded the prestigious Dienje Kenyon Memorial Fellowship through the Society of American Archaeology. This fellowship is awarded annually to one female graduate student in Zooarchaeology and is based largely on the students research proposal. Join us in congratulating Allison on this wonderful fellowship!
Current Laboratory Members
Jack M. Broughton--Professor of Anthropology
Brian F. Codding--Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Michael D. Cannon--Adjunct Associate Professor
Isaac Hart--Postdoctoral Scholar
Kathryn A. Mohlenhoff-- Ph.D. Student
Alison L. Wolfe--Ph.D. Student
Kasey Cole--Ph.D. Student