In recent years, new techniques have appeared that imply a step forward in scientific knowledge. Some of these methods have been integrated into archaeological analyses, revolutionising the knowledge we have of our ancestors and their behaviour. Zooarchaeology is one of the disciplines that has benefited by incorporating these new analytical techniques, breaking with traditional approaches and opening up new and promising perspectives.  

With this TIFA training we want to give researchers the tools to understand and apply these new techniques in their analysis.  


  • To be able to understand the working methodologies applied in the techniques covered. 
  • Know how to interpret the results obtained from the range of analytical methods covered in the TIFA. 
  • Learn to integrate the results into the interpretation of the archaeological/zooarchaeological record. 
  • Learn when to take samples and those that minimal damage but maximise the potential for analytical success. 


Michaela Ecker is specialising in reconstructing long-term environmental changes with stable isotope analysis on enamel, eggshell and sediments. She is working with material from Holocene and Pleistocene stone age sites in southern Africa and Europe. Michaela Ecker is currently an Emmy Noether Junior Research Group Leader at Kiel University, Germany, where she is directing the ‘Kgalagadi Human Origins’ (KHO) Project.  
Milena Carvalho is a zooarchaeologist and stable isotope specialist focusing on early modern human and Neanderthal ecology and responses to climate change during the Pleistocene in Iberia and southeastern Africa. She is currently a Researcher at ICArEHB, where she continues to explore questions of Paleolithic/Stone age human ecology and the identification of human responses to environmental change in the archaeological record.
Sarah Pederzani is a stable isotope archaeologist with a focus on developing site-specific approaches to establishing the climatic preferences and climatically driven behaviours and adaptations of Pleistocene humans. She is currently working at the Archaeological Micromorphology and Biomarkers (AMBI) Lab, where she combines her research on faunal stable isotope with paleoclimatic reconstructions using lipid biomarkers in archaeological sediments.
Louise Le Meillour is a biomolecular archaeologist focusing her research on characterising preserved ancient proteins from faunal remains of arid environments. Her main interest lies in the introduction and diffusion of pastoral practices in Africa and the Levant during the Holocene. She tries to assess the proportion of domesticates in past human diet to highlight any shifts in subsistence economies in relation to climatic events. She is currently working at the Globe Institute in Copenhagen within the Biomolecular Palaeoanthropology group.
Catarina Ginja a geneticist specialized in domestic animal populations, leader of the Archaeogenetics research group at BIOPOLIS-CIBIO-InBIO and collaborator of the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Porto. She serves as cochair and cattle representative of the Committee on Animal Genetic Diversity of the International Society for Animal Genetics and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. She has conducted extensive research in the field of population genetics and conservation of domestic animal biodiversity. She is experienced in state-of-the-art technologies including the analysis of ancient genomes of domesticated animal species.

List of topics: 

  1. Isotope analysis 
    a) Basics of stable isotopes 
    b) Carbon and oxygen analysis 
    c) Case studies and applications 
    d) Isotopic studies of ungulates
    e) Statistical analyses 
    f) Strontium isotopies 
  1. Lipid analysis 
    a) Introduction to lipid biomarkers  
    b) Biomarkers in palaeoecology & animal husbandry 
    c) Basic overview of lab and analytical methods 
    d) Pitfalls and best practices 
    e) Practical demonstration of analysing GC-MS spectra 
  1. ZooMS and Proteomic analysis 
    a) Basics of what to use proteomics in archaeology 
    b) Mass spectrometry and ZooMS vs shotgun proteomics 
    c) Limitations 
  1. aDNA analysis 
    a) Basics of aDNA in zooarchaeological studies 
    b) Sampling selection 
    c) Preservation 
    d) Case studies 

Mode of training and location: 

The training will combine lectures, demonstrations, discussions, and practical sessions (on the computer and in the laboratory). 

The course is relatively intense and compact, it will be available only in person in the facilities of the University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal. 


26-28 April 2023 
Participants ideally should be present for the whole three days. 

Total hours: 

20 hours 

Suggested audience: 

Any researchers interested in zooarchaeology. Particularly interesting for both consolidated researchers and PhD students working on faunal remains. 

Number of participants: 

Maximum 20 participants. 

Registration fee: 

Registration is free. No costs for practical labs. 
Travel, accommodation, and subsistence costs are at the charge of the participants. 


Deadline for application:  March 5, 2023, 23:59 (WET). 
Notification of acceptance and final program: March 
Start of the course: 26 of April 

Additional info: 

Interested participant should fill in the form below before the deadline. 
If more than 20 applications are received, selected participants will be invited in March and others will be on waiting list. 
Participants are invited to bring their laptop to run practical exercises in their own environment.