While actualism has been applied across many archaeological fields to examine past human behaviours and site formation, studies of carnivore taphonomy come with their own complexities. However, carnivores can have significant impacts on the types, location and condition of faunal remains found within both archaeological and palaeontological assemblages. Limited work has been undertaken to determine the taphonomic impacts of Australian carnivores. This talk will present an overview of methods, outcomes and implications from an ongoing PhD project using actualistic approaches to examine the taphonomic patterns of Sarcophilus harrisii (the Tasmanian devil) and Dasyurus maculatus (the spotted-tailed quoll). In particular, it will highlight some of the challenges that arise when studying captive animals, and assess how relevant different factors are when applying modern patterns to archaeological or palaeontological assemblages. Finally, it will discuss the potential for zooarchaeological knowledge to support and inform other related fields, such as palaeontology and conservation biology. 

About the Presenter

Lauren Cunningham is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland, specialising in the taphonomy of faunal remains. In particular, she is interested in human-environment interactions, and the potential for related fields of research to inform better understandings of these interactions in both the past and present. 

About Archaeology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Archaeology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of archaeological research and ideas amongst UQ archaeology students and staff. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment. It is hoped that anyone interested in current archaeological directions, both within and outside the School and University, will be able to attend and contribute to the series.


443; Michie Building (9)