Zooarchaeology of the Modern Era Working Group (ZMEWG)
There are many advantages to investigating the zooarchaeology of the modern era as this period witnessed immense socio-economic transformations on a global scale. These include a shift in the distribution of wealth; the rise of consumerism and globalisation; a global urban population boom; a series of innovations in agriculture; the industrialisation of food production; the emergence of new and complex trade networks as well as the translocation of people and animals across oceans and continents.
Animals played a fundamental role in facilitating the events that shaped the modern world. The study of faunal remains can enhance our understanding of meat trade; agricultural economies; urban histories; urban and rural cultures; food consumption strategies; and the changing relationships between animals and people. A better understanding of zooarchaeological remains from the recent past can further contribute to our understanding of animal-human relationships in the deeper, poorly documented past.
Over the past 20-30 years, an increasing number of zooarchaeologists have focused their research on this time period (~last 500 years), and, while some have opportunities to meet individually within the context of regional historical societies or at general archaeology conferences, there is no dedicated venue for the international community to meet and exchange ideas and experiences and share their knowledge. This working group aims to connect this emergent group of researchers to encourage collaborations, intellectual exchange and promote future research within the discipline. It will provide a forum for members to liaise and disseminate knowledge, to establish new research questions and further develop methods and approaches. We believe this global network of zooarchaeologists will foster discussions that will develop and aid in better understanding this period. We encourage all zooarchaeologists engaged or interested in the last 500 years of history to join, particularly those investigating geographical regions and/or cultural groups that are underrepresented in the current literature. Those with interests in the late medieval period are also encouraged to join and add to discussions on the transition to the post-medieval period.
This information has been contributed by Rebecca Gordon, ZMEWG Liaison to ICAZ, on October 18, 2018.