Our study, then, is ultimately the relationship between past peoples and the animals
with which they shared the world. That investigation will lead us into some rather obscure
and dusty corners of ancient and modern osteology, but we should not lose sight of the
aim. Where necessary, some chapters go into the biological background of archaeological
animal bone studies - vertebrate zooarchaeology - in some detail, and some delve into the
history of the development of particular research areas. [n both instances, the intention is
to show why vertebrate zooarchaeology has adopted certain practical or interpretative
methods. This book is not intended to be a didactic account that explains how animal
bones ought to be examined and studied. Instead, the aim is to show why this field of scholarship is an important one, and to give sufficient detail about the development of
methods and ideas to allow the reader to draw informed conclusions about the best way
to proceed, or the practical constraints that have limited the scope of published reports
and interpretation. Despite not being overtly didactic, the text is often quite opinionated.
This is deliberate: a text is more likely to be of educational benefit if there are clearly
stated views with which the reader can take issue.
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