Zooarchaeology Lab

Zooarchaeology skulls

Zooarchaeology Lab

The Zooarchaeology Laboratory of the Peabody Museum was established in 1981 to facilitate the analysis of faunal remains from archaeological sites (also called Archaeozoology). The laboratory provides working and storage space for students and researchers, who carry out studies on animal bones and teeth from around the world. It is also a teaching facility used for an intensive course on osteoarchaeology, taught every second year by the laboratory's director, Dr. Richard H. Meadow. Dr. Meadow is also available to consult with students and researchers using the laboratory and to assist in designing appropriate research protocols, in identifying specimens, and in evaluating research results.

Dr. Richard H. Meadow

Dr. Richard H. Meadow

Dr. Richard H. Meadow is Director of the Zooarchaeology Laboratory at the Peabody Museum of Harvard University, Senior-Lecturer on Anthropology at Harvard, and Project Director of HARP—the Harappa Archaeological Research Project.

Read more about Dr. Meadow


The following are courses taught by Richard Meadow, Director of the Zooarchaeology Lab:

  • Anthropology 2000: Osteoarcheology Lab
  • Anthropology 1040: Origins of the Food We Eat
  • Anthropology 1060: Archaeological Science
  • Anthropology 3100: Old World Archaeology (Europe, Asia, and Africa)


Among the most important resources of the laboratory are its modern comparative collections. Absolutely essential to the success of any zooarchaeological endeavor is the availability of a comparative collection. The bones and teeth of modern animals of known species, age, and sex are compared to the archaeological faunal remains in order to permit identification and characterization of those remains. Since 1981 the Zooarchaeology Laboratory has been engaged in establishing a collection of mammals, birds, and fish, focusing on complete disarticulated skeletons. Now numbering more than 1200 specimens, this collection is particularly strong in domestic species (especially sheep, goat, cattle and water buffalo) and in the wild fauna of New England. These materials supplement those housed in the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ), a world-renowned institution that can also be used by students and researchers. The MCZ's collections from North America, Mesoamerica, and Asia are particularly noteworthy.

Complete information on specimens is available upon request from:

Collections Manager, Zooarchaeology Laboratory
Peabody Museum 
11 Divinity Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138 USA Telephone: 617 495-8317 Fax: 617 495-7535
Email: zooarch@fas.harvard.edu

Zooarchaeology Links