Animal Bones and Archaeology

These guidelines aim to promote high professional standards in zooarchaeological practice in project planning, excavation, reporting and achiving. The guidance supports archaeology advisors, project managers, field staff and zooarchaeologists through outlining the potential of animal bones from archaeological sites, highlighting the importance of archaeological methods and promoting understanding of zooarchaeological reports and datasets.

The guidelines are supported by three supplements which can be downloaded from this page:

  • Supplement 1: Key reference resources (reference list)
  • Supplement 2: Excavating animal bones (poster)
  • Supplement 3: Processing animal bone assemblages (poster)

These documents have been written by Polydora Baker and Fay Worley, with specialist contributions. They are intended as working documents. Comments and new information are welcomed and should be addressed to [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected].

On 1 April 2015 the part of English Heritage represented on this website changed its name to Historic England. You may notice that some of our content still refers to English Heritage. We are in the process of rebranding, but in the meantime please be assured that all our content and guidance is still current.


  • Part 1: Introduction to animal bones from archaeological sites
  • Part II: Planning for animal bones in archaeology
  • Part III: Best practice for implementing excavation and post-excavation procedures
  • Part IV: Practitioner's guide to good practice
  • Case Studies: Nine short studies with varied methodological or archaeological focus (see keywords for each)
  • Glossary (including skeleton diagrams with bone terms)
  • Appendix 1: Scientific names for species
  • Appendix 2: Assessment and analysis information checklist


If you require an alternative, accessible version of this document (for instance in audio, Braille or large print) please contact us:

Customer Service Department

Telephone: 0370 333 0607
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Textphone: 0800 015 0516
Email: [email protected]

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