Dr Matilda Holmes

Consultant Archaeozoologist

As an archaeozoologist I provide a full range of services based on the identification, analysis and interpretation of mammal, bird and fish bone assemblages from archaeological sites.

Archaeozoology or Zooarchaeology?

The terms archaeozoologist and zooarchaeologist are often interchangeable, and I consider myself the former as my background is in archaeology, rather than zoology. As such, I emphasise the use of archaeological animal remains to further the knowledge and understanding of the role of animals within the human story.


The results of archaeozoological investigations are vital for an understanding of human-animal relationships in the past. Archaeozoology therefore provides an opportunity to increase our knowledge of the story of the past and the role of animals in it.

Excavated animal remains from archaeological sites reflect patterns in refuse disposal and deliberate discard by past populations and can be used to investigate many facets of society including:

Animal husbandry
Social status and wealth
Use of raw materials for craft and industrial processing
Attitudes towards animals
Belief systems and ritual activities
Breed improvement and species evolution
Marketing and provisioning
Use of Space