Dr. Veerle Linseele
ARCHAEOZOOLOGY OF HOLOCENE AFRICA AND THE NEAR EAST
I study animal remains from archaeological sites. Usually, mainly bones, teeth and shells are preserved, but I have also come across soft parts, like hair, horn and dung. I have developed a special interest in the scientific possibilities of the latter, seemingly inglorious find category. The analysis of bone and teeth remains, of all groups of vertebrates, implies that I identify the animal species and the skeletal element. When possible, I also take measurements and investigate aspects such as age at death, sex, traces of butchery, diseases, etc. My expertise is in macroscopic studies but I select animal samples for other specialists at the Center for Archaeological Sciences, e.g., in isotope or DNA analyses. Also with other natural scientists and with archaeologists, I try to cooperate in a truly interdisciplinary way. Geographically, my main areas of interest are arid West Africa, northeast Africa and Syria. I have mainly worked on Holocene material, from prehistoric and early historical periods. I am involved in a few K.U.Leuven archaeological excavations, e.g. at Dayr al-Barsha and Tell Tweini, but also in several international projects.
Because of my archaeological background, the emphasis in my research aims is often on human orientated themes. I have studied early stock keeping in the West African Sahel. I am currently also looking at the diversity of food production systems in the Neolithic of Egypt. The diachronic study of game at West African and Egyptian archaeological sites, allowed me to study changes in the natural environment as well as in human strategies. With the study of animal remains I also want to document early complex societies, e.g. through the appearance of economic specialisation and evidence for state controlled food production and for trade. In addition, I have done studies where the emphasis was on zoological aspects, e.g., on the osteometry of the African aurochs, and the osteology of Ancient Egyptian longhorn cattle. With some of my colleagues, I have moreover described the first evidence for crested rat (Lophiomys imhausi) in Egypt.
FIVE KEY PAPERS
Linseele, V. (2007). Archaeofaunal remains from the past 4000 years in Sahelian West Africa. Domestic livestock, subsistence strategies and environmental changes, BAR International Series 1658 (Cambridge Monographs in African Archaeology 70).
Linseele, V., Van Neer, W., Hendrickx, S. (2007). Evidence for early cat taming in Egypt. Journal of Archaeological Science 34 (12), 2081-2090.
Linseele, V., Marinova, E., Van Neer, W., Vermeersch, P. (2010). Sites with Holocene dung deposits in the Eastern Desert of Egypt: visited by herders? Journal of Arid Environments 74, 818-828.
Linseele, V., Van Neer, W., De Cupere, B. (2010). The first fossil record of Lophiomys in Egypt. Mammalia 74, 109-112.
RESEARCH AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
01.12.2009 - 01.09.2010 (10%): Guest-lecturer at the Universiteit Gent (Belgium), for the course “Inleiding tot de Natuurwetenschappen in Archeologie” (Bachelor 1)
2002 - 2006: PhD researcher at the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Tervuren, Belgium) with a grant of the Belgian Science Policy Office.
Laboratory of Animal Diversity and Systematics - Ch. Deberiotstraat 32 - B-3000 Leuven - Belgium
phone: +32 16 326413 - fax: +32 16 32 45 75
function: Postdoctoral Researcher