International Council
for Archaeozoology

Animal Palaeopathology Working Group

 The Animal Palaeopathology Working Group (APWG) was set up by Jessica Davies, Andy Hammon and Richard Thomas in 1999 to provide an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of theoretical and methodological issues relating to the study of animal health, disease and injury in the past. At the outset, three specific areas of concern were identified with the state of the discipline:

  1. Lack of integration of palaeopathological data with other forms of archaeological evidence;
  2. Inconsistent and inadequate recording practices, resulting in the treatment of palaeopathologies as "interesting specimens", with little concern for geographic and diachronic variation in prevalence;
  3. Limited understanding of the underlying biological processes of many different types of pathology.

Since the inception of the group in 1999, the APWG has arranged three informal meetings, participated in the 13th European Meeting of the Palaeopathology Association (2000) and the 9th International Conference of ICAZ (2002). It also organized seven of its own conferences (Nitra, Slovakia 2004; Kaunas, Lithuania 2007; Katerini, Greece 2010; Stockholm, Sweden 2013; Budapest, Hungary 2016; Tartu, Estonia 2019; and Wrocław, Poland 2022). As part of an on-going commitment to disseminate knowledge concerning animal palaeopathology, the proceedings of the following conferences have been published:

2002 Proceedings

The proceedings of the APWG session held at the 9th ICAZ conference in Durham, United Kingdom from 23–28 August 2002, have been published by Oxbow Books:

Davies, J., Fabiš, M., Mainland, I., Richards, M. and Thomas, R. (eds) 2005: Diet and Health in Past Animal Populations. Current Research and Future Directions. Proceedings of the 9th conference of the ICAZ, Durham, August 2002. Oxbow Books, Oxford.

2004 Proceedings

The proceedings of the 2nd APWG meeting held in Nitra, Slovakia from 23–24 September 2004 have been published by Archaeopress:

Miklíková, Z. and Thomas, R. (eds.) 2008: Current Research in Animal Palaeopathology: Proceedings of the Second ICAZ Animal Palaeopathology Working Group Conference. BAR International Series 1844. Archaeopress, Oxford.

Available to purchase here.

2007 Proceedings

The proceedings of the 3rd APWG meeting held in Kaunas, Lithuania in 6–8 September 2007 have been published as part of five volumes of a peer-reviewed journal of the Lithuanian Veterinary Academy:

Veterinarija ir Zootechnika. T. 40 (62). 2007. Available here .

Veterinarija ir Zootechnika. T. 41 (63). 2008. Available here .

Veterinarija ir Zootechnika. T. 42 (64). 2008. Available here .

Veterinarija ir Zootechnika. T. 43 (65). 2008. Available here .

Veterinarija ir Zootechnika. T. 44 (66). 2008. Available here .

All papers can be downloaded for free.

2016 Proceedings

The proceedings of the 6th APWG meeting held in Budapest, Hungary in 26–29 May 2016 have been published in a peer-reviewed, edited volume by Oxbow Books:

Bartosiewicz, L. and Gál, E. (eds.) 2018: Care or Neglect? Evidence of Animal Disease in Archaeology. Oxbow Books, Oxford & Philadelphia.

Available to purchase here .

APWG home page

At the 2013 conference in Stockholm, the APWG launched its own website:

The website features details of past and future meetings, information about current research, and a searchable, indexed, bibliography of palaeopathology publications (until 2013).

During the 12th International Conference of ICAZ in San Rafael, Argentina, a decision was made that the role of APWG liaison should be delegated to future conference organisers who coordinate academic contents and technicalities such as conference finances and the updated mailing list. Due to the confusing times of Covid-19 pandemic, the APWG role of coordinator and official liaison to ICAZ has currently remained Eve Rannamäe (University of Tartu, Estonia, A new liaison will be appointed when the organiser for the next WG meeting is decided.

This information has been contributed by Eve Rannamäe (last update: June 2023).