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State-of-the-art Zooarcheology Lab brings groundbreaking opportunities to UMD students Shells, bones, scales and hides.

Sounds like an exhibit at the Museum of Natural History. When pieced together these parts form a skeleton of an animal that once existed. But, this skeleton is more than just the shape of a creature. It is the starting place for research about the dietary patterns, environmental characteristics, and food-chain hierarchies, among many other factors in the animals existence, also called Zooarcheology. The Department of Anthropology will open a brand-new zooarchaeology lab in Taliaferro Hall this semester. The University of Maryland has never had a zooarchaeology lab. The lab, directed by Dr. George Hambrecht, assistant professor of archaeology, will start primarily as a graduate research facility, as well as a facility for Dr. Hambrechts research. Dr. Hambrecht joined the Department of Anthropology last year. He specializes in zooarchaeology, with a focus on historical archaeology. Dr. Hambrechts research areas include Iceland and the sub-arctic, with a focus on how these civilizations adapted and evolved with the climate and environmental conditions over time. He is currently studying the interaction of soil movement and erosion in Icelandic societies and animals. This topic of study, called tephrochronolgy, was developed in Iceland as a technique that uses layers of volcanic ash to create a chronological framework to place archeological records. We need to study the human factor to understand how they dealt with shifting soil patterns, Dr. Hambrecht said. This supplies examples of what other cultures have done in the face of climate change. The new lab, which was funded by the university, will house many of the bones and artifacts that Dr. Hambrecht has dug up and utilized for research. Dr. Hambrecht currently has one graduate

student, Kevin Gibbons, researching vertebrate and invertebrate animal remains from archaeological sites to further investigate the relationships between human activities, economies, and the environment throughout history. This lab will be able to support research on animal remains recovered from archaeological sites both here in Maryland and across the globe, Gibbons said. We'll be able to instruct both undergraduate and graduate students in zooarchaeology and have the space to support projects of both Dr. Hambrecht and myself. Dr. Hambrecht plans to apply for grants and other resources to continue growing the zooarchaeology lab, with the hopes of one day opening an even larger lab to accommodate more students and faculty. By using our professional relationships to other archaeologists in the D.C. region, the zooarchaeology lab at UMD will be able to contribute to the ongoing scholarship from other local museums and universities, Gibbons said. To learn more about the zooarchaeology lab at the University of Maryland, visit its Facebook page at: www.