Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (03): 407-418.doi: 10.16359/j.cnki.cn11-1963/q.2019.0038

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Geographic information system in zooarchaeology: A novel technique in analysis of the faunal remains from the Ma’anshan site, Guizhou, China

ZHANG Yue1,2,*(), ZHANG Shuangquan1,2,3, GAO Xing1,2,3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2019-03-04 Revised:2019-04-23 Online:2019-08-15 Published:2020-09-10
  • Contact: ZHANG Yue


Geographic Information System has now found its way into many fields of archaeological research; however, its integration with zooarchaeology is only occasionally practiced, especially in China. In this study, we tentatively adopt this technique in an analysis of the faunal remains from the Ma’anshan site(ca.43-16 kaBP), Guizhou Province of China. Associated with thousands of stone artifacts and dozens of formalized bone tools, this site is exceptional in its excellent preservation of a fairly large bone assemblage. With the assistance of a geoprocessing tool from ArcGIS’s Spatial Analyst extension, skeletal remains of Class III animals(including Bubalus sp. and Megatapirus augustus) from the site are quantified in bulk with maximum precision; meanwhile, patterns in bone element abundance of the two species are visually accentuated. The current study indicates that GIS can be a unique and most potent tool in standardizing and simplifying procedures in analyzing animal bones, especially those of extremely large collections from the Paleolithic sites of China.

Key words: Geographic information system, Zooarchaeology, Ma’anshan site, Upper Paleolithic, Subsistence strategies

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