I have just spent a week in Penang attending Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) archaeozoology course. (if they had an undergrad programme this is where I’d be going). There were 11 people on the course, and it is aimed at museum/heritage professionals (i.e. grown-ups).
Stayed at the USM Guest House which is the building directly opposite the PPAG (Pusat Penyelidikan Arkeologi Global) where archaeological stuff takes place.
We were given this monstrous file of handouts.
Lecture 1: Diet Prasejarah
The first lecture was on the types of dietary evidence and methods used to study them, and about hunter gatherers & agriculturalists.
Practical: Ekskavasi & Dokumentasi
Learnt to use a dumpy level, set up trench lines and sketch from trenches.
Lecture 2: Arkeologi & Masyarakat
I wasn’t too convinced about community archaeology at first (not a people person) but this really made me think about the importance of engagement and outreach in archaeology and how this is important for heritage purposes.
Lecture 3: Analisis Anatomi & Taksonomi
This was the fun part – learning about animal parts and bone breakage patterns.
Practical: Analisis Anatomi & Taksonomi
Of course getting to look at bones and mollusc shells is the best part!
We also got to wear lab coats, which felt extremely professional.
Lecture 4: Analisis Tafonomi
Practical: Tafonomi – identifikasi
More of the same forms to fill in from yesterday, but this time paying attention to cut/burn/gnaw/root marks. I struggle with using Munsell colour charts to match burn colours – it’s so hard when there seems to be more than one shade of scorch.
Practical: Tafonomi – aplikasi saintifik
Got to play with microscopes and SEM.
Lecture 5: Persampelan & statistik
The sheer amount of Math that there was in this traumatised me. I worry for my future now.
Field trip: Muzium Arkeologi Lembah Bujang & Sungai Batu
Lembah Bujang is an early Hindu-Buddhist site (7th to 13th centuries possibly, but I might be wrong).
Sungai Batu was a port site also used for iron smelting. I was quite excited to see the massive pile of crucibles and tuyeres.
Lecture 6: Konservasi sampel arkeozoologi
Practical: Konservasi sampel arkeozoologi
Field trip: USM Museums