Introduction to


North Atlantic Biocultural Organization
Zooarchaeology Working Group

8TH Edition, January 2004


This recording manual is the 8th working version of the NABO Zooarchaeology Working Group Data Records Project, authorized by the January 1997 working group meeting in NYC. The basic structure follows James Rackham’s database (Microsoft Access) with some changes and clarifications for North Atlantic applications. The Hunter Bioarchaeology lab was charged with adapting the Rackham system to the realities of modern work in the North Atlantic, and to balance recorded detail with the need for rapid and consistent processing of the large bone collections now becoming common in our research area. A particular concern was the need to promote long term data comparability and to provide both a long term data archive and a set of analytic tools immediately addressing current joint research objectives. The NABONE system will eventually comprise a complete manual (including this coding system) a developed Acess database with useful queries and reports, and an Excel spreadsheet set providing analytic output similar to the Hunter College QBONE system (which currently holds a great deal of North Atlantic bone data). This package will be posted on the NABO website ( and will eventually be available for download to any interested user.

Lab Testing: 

The Data Records project has used the large (ca 50k TNF) archaeofauna from excavations of the 9th-11th c Viking site of Hofstapir in N Iceland with the kind cooperation of the Archaeological Institute, Iceland (FSQ). Following the WG recommendations, we have done extensive testing of the present codes and recording system with the help of zooarchaeologists at different levels of training and experience to attempt to improve clarity and promote consistent use by different workers. We have also used this system as a teaching tool in introductory courses. While we feel that the eight versions since Jan 1997 have improved the utility of the system, there is certainly room for improvement- please help us by pointing out errors and areas for improvement!

Development and testing 1997-2003 by:
Tom McGovern
 Colin Amundsen
Sophia Perdikaris
Jim Woollett
Yekaterina Krivogorskaya
Ramona Harrison
Seth Brewington
George Hambrecht

Bioarchaeology Laboratory
Hunter College
City Univ. of New York
695 Park Ave,
NYC 10021 USA