Zooarchaeology Laboratory

Research Description: 

The Bear Bones Lab

Research Description:
Our lab specializes in the analysis of faunal remains, and uses innovative approaches to identify taphonomic signatures on bone, allowing for the identification of a variety of activities associated with human-animal interactions and cuisine. We are also an experimental archaeology lab with diverse interests in the use of technology such as geophysics and modeling to not only better understand the past, but also better serve the research mandates of our community partners.  As a result, the Bear Bones Lab has hosted data and collections from archaeological sites of diverse spatial and temporal origin, with research foci that engage an ever expanding network of cross-campus and community partners.

Location: 197 Kroeber
          University of California, Berkeley
          Berkeley, CA 94720

Email:  bearboneslab@gmail.com
Blog: http://bearboneslab.blogspot.com

Current Researchers:

Mario Castillo:

Mario Castillo is Ford Foundation Fellow at the National Academies and recent graduate of California State University, Dominguez Hills (B.A.) where he was Ronald E. McNair Scholar and a California State University Sally Casanova Predoctoral Scholar. His work centers on the intersection of natural resources, social-life and the phenomenology of temporality. For his dissertation work, he expects to use Spatial Archaeometry--the application of scientific techniques to measure the properties of materials at all scales including artifacts, sites and landscapes--to investigate land-use, water management and domestic economy in Mexico's Bajio region during the Post-Classic to Colonial transition (AD 1200-1700).

Annie Danis:

I am a Berkeley Fellow in the department of Anthropology, University of California. My work explores the intersection of art and archaeology through a sensory approach to historic landscapes. In particular I am interested in how archaeology can use new and alternative forms of mediation to empower contemporary communities in North America broadly and the American Southwest specifically. This guides my use of GIS, spatial visualization, and database technologies, as well as public archaeology as a practice, to produce self-reflexive, inclusive scholarly works.

Work in the prehistoric, historic, and contemporary past has brought me to Dakhla Oasis, Egypt, Abiquiu, New Mexico, St. Catherine’s Island, Georgia, and Los Angeles, California to explore the intersections of the past and the present. Work with the American Museum of Natural History, NYU’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, and UCLA’s Center for Experiential Technologies, The Autry National Center, Crow Canyon Archaeological Research Center have provided me the opportunity to work with a diverse range of communities invested in the outcomes of archaeological inquiry.

Shelby Medina:
I am a recent graduate of UC Berkeley (B.A) who is currently working in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology as the Prep Lab Class coordinator where we teach MVZ Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) students how to prepare various museum research specimens. I majored in Anthropology while at Berkeley where I developed a deep interest in zooarchaeology, which combined my passion for archaeology and my work with faunal remains in the MVZ. Some of my interests include foodways and cuisine, zooarchaeology, human osteology, and community based archaeology.

Alexandra McCleary:

I have been a graduate student at UC Berkeley and working in the Bear Bones Lab since 2012.  My areas of interest include religion, social theory, zooarchaeology/foodways, and historical archaeology.  These interests have lead me to work on projects in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington, DC, California, and New Mexico.  I am deeply committed to the communities with whom I am engaged.  As an award-winning Graduate Student Instructor, I take a particular interest in fostering appreciation for archaeology through curriculum development, youth outreach, mentoring and apprenticeship. My dissertation research lies in Abiquiu, New Mexico.  I’m particularly interested in how identity-laden practices are perceived and utilized amid continually shifting political realities.  

Gabriel Sanchez:

Gabriel Sanchez is an indigenous anthropologist, a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, and a recent graduate of the University of Oregon (B.A.). His interests include hunters, gatherers, and fishers, maritime adaptations, and community based research. Gabriel is committed to decolonizing the practice of archaeology by collaborating with descendant communities. As such, his work has included corroboration of oral histories of the Tillamook and Chinook tribes of Oregon working in collaboration with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, the University of Oregon, and the Smithsonian Institution. He expects his dissertation research to focus on indigenous landscape management in Central California through a zooarchaeological perspective. 

Dr. Jun Sunseri:

My research particularly focuses on colonialism, foodways, landscapes, historical archaeology, preservation and heritage in the western US and northern South Africa. Members of my research cluster bring together complementary lines of evidence of varied types and spatial scales, including analysis of archaeological ceramic and faunal assemblages related to domestic foodways and GIS analysis of remote sensing, geophysical survey, and excavation data to reveal tactical, engineering, and ritual patterning of cultural landscapes. By placing these suites of data in dialogue with each other, we seek more robust explanations of the ways that communities expressed various aspects of their identities in different contexts and scales of social performance. Related to these research foci are the relationships between colonization and the historical transformation of indigenous landscapes, foodways, and identities.

As an archaeologist, I am especially interested in the potential for examining these issues through the analysis of material culture and technology but I think it is vitally important to approach research projects as multidimensional processes that are both archaeological and contemporary.  Close collaboration with living communities in the narrative building process and as full partners in research design and implementation is central to the work of our research cluster. Towards this end, I have recently conducted research with community partners and agencies in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, Mono County, California, and Tshimbupfe in Limpopo Province.  I answer to the communities who trace their heritage to the sites where we work. As a guest, I value my partnerships with descendants, residents, and teachers interested in including ethnohistory and archaeological science in political recognition, local curriculum, and land and water rights struggles.

197 Kroeber Hall