The Karashamb Animals Project, Armenia

The Karashamb Animals Project, directed by Professor Hannah Chazin (Department of Anthropology), investigates the animals found buried alongside humans in the Bronze Age necropolis at Karashamb (in modern day Armenia).

In the hundreds of burials excavated at Karashamb, spanning many centuries, a wide range of animals were found, both as part of lavish sets of grave goods accompanying the richest burials, but also in humbler, less extravagant graves. The project explores what these animals’ lives and deaths can tell archaeologists about human-animal relationships in the ancient South Caucasus. To do so, Chazin uses zooarchaeological and isotopic analysis to illuminate the pre- and post-mortem lives of animals in the Bronze Age.

Chazin was attracted to archaeology (and anthropology) because it allowed her to combine an interest in human beings and history, with the intellectual challenges of doing scientific research. She is interested in how archaeologists can use scientific techniques to answer the kinds of questions raised by the humanities and social sciences.

“I think it is worthwhile to study ancient pastoralism because it complicates the way we think about human-animal relationships in the present. Pastoralists have very intimate relationships with their herds, but they are also a critical economic resource – so they make a very interesting case study to think about the intellectual and ethical questions that surround contemporary human-animal relationships, from pet keeping to industrial meat production.”


Recent Publications:

2018 “New Statistical Approaches to Intra-Individual Isotopic Analysis and Modeling Birth
Seasonality in Studies of Herd Animals” Archaeometry (with Soudeep Deb, Josh Falk, and Arun Srinavasan).

2016 “The Life Assemblage: Rethinking the politics of pastoral practices.” In
Incomplete Archaeologies: Assembling Knowledge in the Past and Present. Proceedings from a session at the 2013 EAA Meetings in Pilsen, CZ. Miller-Bonney, E., K. Franklin, J. A. Johnson, eds. Pp. 28-47. Oxbow Press.

More information on Prof. Chazin and her research



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