Animal Palaeopathology Working Group

Fifth ICAZ Animal Palaeopathology Working Group Conference

The fifth conference of the ICAZ Animal Palaeopathology Working Group will be held at the Osteoarchaeological Research Laboratory, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, University of Stockholm, Sweden, between Friday 31st May and Sunday 2nd June 2013.

We welcome contributions on any aspects of animal palaeopathology, but especially those focus on the main theme of the conference “Patterns of skeletal pathology in wild and domestic animals in the past and present”. The abstract is detailed below:

“Past human societies had a profound impact on the health of domestic animals. Livestock herds in many places and times were both symbolically and economically valued and if one or more animals became sick or lame adequate intervention was required. Zooarchaeological research has become increasingly focussed upon identifying and classifying skeletal lesions, particularly those indicative of activity patterns (e.g. traction use). This focus has driven the development of recording methods to systematically capture data that facilitate the quantitative analysis of lesion frequency across space and through time. It has also encouraged the analysis of lesion presence and frequency in wild animals and known history populations of domestic animals to shed further light upon the aetiology and pathogenesis of lesions observed in archaeological remains. The primary aim of this meeting is to build upon this theme by focussing attention on the identification of skeletal lesions in the archaeological record and their connections to specific behaviours and biological parameters. We also encourage archaeologists and veterinary pathologists to present studies of skeletal changes in known history populations of wild and domestic animals that will further strengthen the possibility of identifying and understanding pathologies connected to the handling and care of animals.”

If you are interested in attending and contributing a paper or a poster, please contact Ylva Telldahl ( and/or Richard Thomas ( The deadline for the receipt of abstracts is 31st January 2013. Further details will be placed on the APWG website in due course.

Ploughing Ahead: Technological, socio-economic and environmental developments in Old World ploughing

First Call for Papers

One-day colloquium at Rewley House, University of Oxford, Friday 15th March 2013

The first call for papers in now open for a one-day colloquium to discuss recent research into pre-industrial tillage methods. There has been limited synthetic research in recent years, to draw together the evidence for the use of different tillage methods in antiquity, despite their importance for the study of past agricultural practices and their social implications. It is hoped that this conference will bring together scholars with varying backgrounds and levels of experience, representing a range of historical, archaeological and environmental disciplines.

We would like to invite abstract submissions within, but not restricted to, the following fields of research:

1. Landscapes & settlements

2. Documentary & iconographic history

3. Artefactual archaeology

4. Environmental archaeology

5. Ethnography

6. Soil science

Papers will each be allocated 20 minutes, followed by time for discussion. Abstracts should be no longer than 200 words and submitted by e-mail. The deadline is Friday 7th December.

We hope to be able to offer some financial support for Postgraduate students (TBC). Please enquire for further details.

Organisers: Mark McKerracher and Lisa Lodwick (School of Archaeology, University of Oxford)



Current Research Projects

The list of current research projects has been updated to include a project exploring the archaeology of epizootics and pathology in turkeys.

Downloadable Palaeopathology Books

The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science have made two of their bulletins freely available to download that may be of interest to palaeopathologists:

Rothschild, B. M. and Martin, L. D. 2006. Skeletal Impact of Disease.

Tanke, D. H. and Rothschild, B. M. 2002. DINOSORES: An annotated bibliography of dinosaur paleopathology and related topics - 1838-2001.

New Palaeopathology Journal Announced

Elsevier have just annouced that they will be hosting a new journal - The International Journal of Paleopathology - which has been adopted as the journal of the Paleopathology Association ( The aim of the journal is as follows:

"Paleopathology is the study and application of methods and techniques for studying diseases and related conditions from skeletal and soft tissue remains. The description of ways in which these methods can be applied to the reconstruction of health, disease and activity patterns in the past is central to the discipline. The International Journal of Paleopathology (IJP) will publish original and significant articles on human and animal diseases, based upon the study of physical remains, including osseous, dental, and preserved soft tissues. Papers dealing with text-based evidence relating to disease in the past (rather than history of medicine) will also be published."

In addition to articles, case studies, book reviews, and shorter-length technical notes and brief communications, the first two years of the journal will offer an inaugural series of papers that reflect the opinions of recognized paleopathologists specializing in such topics as animal health, bone disease, dental disease, historical paleopathology, imaging technologies, paleohistology, paleoparasitology, and mummy science, both reflecting the current state of the art and future prospects, including opportunities afforded by interdisciplinary collaborations. Articles will be evaluated in terms of their contributions to new knowledge about the past and the history of health and disease, justified in terms of archaeological or historical contexts. The goal is that the journal will be active in shaping the field of paleopathology, not a passive reflection of it.

The first issue of the journal will be published in December 2010, and there will be four issues published each year. If you are interested in contributing a paper on animal palaeopathology and would like some further information, please visit the IJPP website ( or get in touch with Richard Thomas (Associate Editor;