Zooarchaeology, linguistics, and a look into the world of Anthropology

History Department students recently received a glimpse into two specialized realms within the social sciences: zooarchaeology and language decipherment.
Zooarchaeologist Dr. Vivian James, Ph.D., and linguistics expert Dr. John Justeson, Ph.D., both Professors in the Anthropology Department at the University at Albany, shared with students insights into their research, offering windows into possible areas of study.
Dr. James met with students in History Teacher Char Green’s Bioarchaeology class, where she shared a brief introduction to zooarchaeology—the study of faunal (non-human mammals, including birds, fish, and reptiles) remains from archeological sites. The discipline, she noted, has applications in studies of environmental reconstruction, climate change, ecology, veterinary medicine, and faunal management. A highlight included students participating in a hands-on identification of remains Dr. James brought to the class.
Dr. Justeson addressed World History classes taught by Ms. Green and Dr. Michael Alexander, Ph.D. Dr. Justeson’s research focuses on symbolic systems, writing systems, and spoken languages of Mesoamerica, the ancient civilizations of Latin America. His work, he explained, is essentially an exercise in problem solving. Then, using an ancient Cypriot writing system and asking students to make connections between known and unknown elements of a passage, he walked the class through a typical process to decipher an ancient text.
Thank you Dr. James and Dr. Justeson for visiting Miss Hall’s!
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Located in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, Miss Hall's School is a private, college preparatory, boarding and day high school for girls in grades 9-12.
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