Elk (Cervus canadensis) skull and mandible. Zooarchaeology comparative specimen. 1985. Wyoming. Zooarchaeology Laboratory, Walker Collection. UMMAA 1987-5-2-x.

Archaeologists use comparative specimens of known (recent) animals to aid in the identification of the often fragmentary and charred faunal remains recovered in excavations. This skull and mandible is from one of two elk skeletons donated to the Museum by the assistant state archaeologist of Wyoming. Archaeologists George C. Frison and Mr. Ken Roylance hunted the elks, a male and female, in 1985. The female elk (shown here) was procured along Rock Creek in Carbon County, southern Wyoming. The Museum’s Zooarchaeological Laboratory contains comparative specimens of a broad range of domesticated and wild species. These are used in research and to help train students in faunal identifications.

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In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.