Animal Palaeopathology Working Group

Welcome to the website of the ICAZ Animal Palaeopathology Working Group

The relegation of pathological observations to little more than a brief description, which is typically lacking in integration with the rest of the evidence, is unfortunately a frequent occurrence in the zooarchaeological literature. To compound this problem there has been a general lack of consistency, and no guidelines, in the recording of pathological information for animal bone assemblages. Consequently, despite the recognition of congenital anomalies and pathological specimens, a shortage of comparable data has restricted many analyses to little more than case studies. Additionally, there are still many aspects of palaeopathology that are poorly understood. The Animal Palaeopathology Working Group was consequently established in 1999 in order to try and address these problems and provide a forum for a multi-disciplinary discussion of the methodological and practical issues regarding the study of past animal health.

The APWG is committed to developing a series of resources to aid those interested in studying animal palaeopathology, disseminating good practice and current research, and providing a variety of media for discussing problems and methods. As part of our remit, we regularly organise meetings and the group has an e-mail list upon which all members are free to post discussion topics. We would also like to encourage members to post messages on our discussion forum and post their images on our photo center.

If you would like to become a member of the APWG simply fill in the following form (membership is free).

Fused horse tarsal bones from a 17th century deposit from Dudley Castle, West Midlands, UK (Thomas and Locock 2001)