APECS International Online Conference 2021_Poster presentation – Session 2

Title: The Approach of Reconstructing the History of Endemic Animal Species in Svalbard

Presenter: Franziska Paul

Institution: Kiel University

Type: Poster

Category: Arctic

Abstract: With the advent of natural resource exploitation in Svalbard by several profit seeking parties, especially endemic mammal species were heavily affected. After successive periods of unrestricted harvest, population dynamics altered, and recovery is still ongoing. The remnants of the exploitation phases stay and accumulate as faunal bone scatters on the surface. However, they are mostly neglected, abstracted or discarded from its archaeological context. Due to pandemic restrictions the access to sampled collection is affected, since travelling to museum collections is unfeasible and online collections lacking comprehensive assemblages. Here I am addressing the state of the examination practices of archaeofaunal bone scatters from former slaughter sites in Svalbard and their potential. Additionally, introducing the design of my archaeozoological fieldwork project in Svalbard, which is planned for August 2021, and its challenges. Main focus of the fieldwork study is to survey walrus bone scatters at former slaughter sites to unravel past population dynamics and structures. Further, attempting to collect a sensible animal bone sample to identify species abundance at each selected site. Not only pandemic restriction, but also permissions, climatic conditions and wild animal species impede to enter the archaeological sites and to conduct multi-methodological fieldwork.

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