International Council
for Archaeozoology

Taphonomy Working Group

 In the Fall 2009 International Committee (IC) approved the establishment of the Taphonomy Working Group. The first meeting to set up this working group was held during the 11th ICAZ Conference (Paris, France) in August 2010. Since then, the TWG has been a very active group. Currently, it has more than 70 members from 20 countries and three international workshops have been organized: in Paris (2010), Santander, Spain (2012) and the last one in San Lorenzo, Argentina (2014). Currently, the number of professionals working on taphonomy is steadily increasing and their contribution to prestigious scientific journals is becoming a regular trend. However, no formal international forum specific to taphonomy existed in which scholars could disseminate new research and exchange knowledge and experience. The Taphonomy Working Group (TWG) was created to fill this void and encourage wider dissemination and greater collaboration and multidisciplinary in taphonomic research. Key subjects include (but are not restricted to):

  • Diachronic and regional differences in the butchering process: identification and interpretation at prehistoric sites
  • Approaches to anthropogenic bone breakage interpretation
  • Equifinality in body part representation: human behaviour versus attrition
  • Carnivores: experimental studies, methods of recognition
  • Other biological agents: weathering, birds, rodents, insects, etc and their effect on the deposit
  • The structural properties of bone and the susceptibility of different classes of remains to modification and destruction.
  • Approaches to diagenesis (including histology, isotopic, aDNA, etc.)


  • The 1st conference took place during the 11th ICAZ Conference (Paris, France) in August 2010 and was organized by A.B. Marín-Arroyo, Jean Philippe Brugal, Richard Magdwick and Marta Moreno-Garcia (37 papers). This meeting served to set up the WG and introduce it to the researchers working on taphonomy.
  • The 2nd conference was organized by Ana B. Marín-Arroyo and Marta Moreno-Garcia in Santander, Spain, in mid-September 2012 at the University of Cantabria.
  • The 3rd International Meeting of the TWG was held in August 2014, San Rafael, Argentina during the 12th ICAZ Conference. It was organized by Richard Magdwick and Lee G. Broderick.
  • The 4th International Meeting of the TWG was held in September 2016 and was organised by Jean Philippe Brugal and Christiane Denys at the MNHN, Paris.
  • The 5th International Meeting of the TWG was celebrated during the ICAZ 2018 International Conference that took place from 2-7 September 2018, in Ankara, Turkey. Two sessions on taphonomic issues were organised by Mariana Nabais and Sofia Samper-Carro.
  • The 6th Taphonomy Working Group-ICAZ will be held in Madrid in Septemeber 2020 together with Taphos'2020 meeting.


The TWG is publishing regularly the proceedings of the meetings in peer-review journals.

  • 1st meeting: New Perspectives on Taphonomy edited by A. B. Marín‐Arroyo R. Madgwick J‐P. Brugal M. Moreno‐García. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology (2012, v.22:5) (10 papers)
  • 2nd meeting: Taphonomy and archaeozoological research: Recent approaches edited by Ana B. Marín-Arroyo, Marta Moreno-García. Quaternary International (2014, vol.330) (17 papers)
  • 3rd meeting: Taphonomies of Trajectory: Studies on the Movement of Bones edited by R. Magdwick and Lee G. Broderick. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences (2016, Vol. 8, issue 2) (14 articles)
  • 4th meeting: In 2018 the proceedings of the fourth meeting held in Paris were published in two journals, both edited by C. Denys C. and J.P. Brugal. General to specific Quaternary taphonomy. Historical Biology (2018, vol. 30 issue 6) (15 papers) and Taphonomie, Environnement et Archéologie. Quaternaire (2018, vol. 29 issue 1) (12 papers)


Currently, a Global Weathering project, led by Yolanda Fernandez-Jalvo, to replicate the Behrensmeyer experiment but in different regions and climate at the same time, is being achieved by TWG members worldwide. Any research interested in taking part is welcome. More info at:



Please contact with the Coordinator and Liaison if you are interested in joining the group: Ana Belen Marín

This information has been contributed by Ana Belen Marín, TWG Liaison to ICAZ. Last updated: November 6, 2018.