Understanding faunal contexts of a complex Tell: Tel Dor, Israel, as a case study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The complex stratigraphy of the large Levantine tells and the complexity of human behavior that took place on them, poses a major challenge in understanding site formation processes and their reflection in the faunal remains. We studied the contextual deposition of faunal remains in Tel Dor, as a model for complex tell sites, and the possibility of using faunal remains as a tool to distinguish between context types. In addition, we asked how can we use this knowledge to elucidate site formation processes. Our results demonstrate that most loci defined in the field as primary refuse or purposive disposal are indeed different from the loci defined as secondary refuse. Different types of contexts can be differentiated, to a degree, from one another based upon multivariate analysis of faunal remains. Statistical as well as spatial analyses may help elucidate site formation processes and the use of space. Bones can, and in many cases do, reflect primary activities. Lumping zooarchaeological data into a single 'assemblage', as done in most zooarchaeological studies today causes major loss of information. Consideration of the specific location of faunal remains can be used as further indication for context identity and for understanding specific activities in a site, with care this can be done even in complex sites such as the 'urban mounds' of the Levant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-601
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Context
  • Deposition
  • Faunal remains
  • Site formation processes
  • Taphonomy
  • Tell

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding faunal contexts of a complex Tell: Tel Dor, Israel, as a case study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this