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Subsistence Studies

Paleoethnobotany and Zooarchaeology

The Archaeology Research Laboratory’s Subsistence and Environmental Unit provides analyses of archaeological plant and animal remains for cultural resource management (CRM) firms and researchers. We produce high-quality reports in a timely manner, primarily addressing issues regarding subsistence, foodways, and environmental reconstruction.

Paleoethnobotany/Archaeobotany Services include:

  • Analysis and reporting of standard primary data of macrobotanical specimens (identification of materials to the lowest possible taxonomic level, counts and weights)
  • Plant seasonality and habitat
  • Ethnographic uses of plant taxa
  • Comparison with regional patterns
  • Quantitative comparisons of samples

Zooarchaeology Services include:

  • Identification and reporting of standard primary data (taxonomic identification to lowest level possible, elements represented, specimen count and weight, MNI’s, measurements) for bone and shell from all classes of animal remains
  • Modifications and pathologies
  • Age and sex features present, construction of age classes, and sex ratios
  • Estimates of dietary contribution
  • Estimates of body dimensions
  • Skeletal frequencies
  • Relative frequencies of taxa and species diversity
  • Comparisons with regional patterns
  • Quantitative comparisons of specimens and/or samples

Additional services provided by the Subsistence and Environmental Unit include:

  • In-house flotation and sorting of samples
  • Microartifact analysis of samples (a subsample of the material is analyzed and entered into our database, which statistically evaluates the data for count, percentage of materials present, and standard error)

We can also arrange analyses of pollen, phytoliths, and radiocarbon samples.

If you are interested in Paleoethnobotany or Zooarchaeology Services, please contact Kandace Hollenbach at either (865) 974-9647 or

ARL Staff

  • Kandace D. Hollenbach, Ph.D – serves as the Subsistence and Environmental Unit leader, and as paleoethnobotanist for the ARL. She has over ten years of experience analyzing plant remains from the Southeast that span the Paleoindian through Historic periods, deriving from sites in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kazakhstan.
  • Jessica Vavrasek, BA – serves as zooarchaeologist for the ARL. She has four years of zooarchaeological experience analyzing faunal remains from historic and prehistoric sites in New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas and Canada.
  • Jonathan D. Baker analyzes shell for the ARL.  Jonathan has over nine years of experience analyzing faunal remains from prehistoric and historic sites in eastern North America and specializes in aquatic resources, including both marine and freshwater fish and mollusks.

Consulting Staff

  • Gary Crites Ph.D, Frank H. McClung Museum; Paleoethnobotany, Environmental Reconstruction
  • Walter Klippel Ph.D, Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee; Zooarchaeology

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