‘Inter-disciplinarity’ viz the study of animal remains has become something of a hackneyed term: the rhetoric translating poorly into practice. There is a need to avoid the prevailing tautology that one studies animal bones because one is a zooarchaeologist: one is a zooarchaeologist therefore one studies animal bones. Indeed, those analysing medieval animal remains are foremost zooarchaeologists; almost exclusively, they are NOT medievalists seeking to use fauna to further understanding of the period. In consequence, interpretation of medieval fauna is largely subject to the prevailing techno-economic orthodoxy of zooarchaeology, rather than being informed by the particular substantive enquiries of a period-specific archaeology. In consequence, explicitly addressed to the non-zooarchaeologist, this paper explores the bare bones of Zooarchaeology: what medievalists need to know.
To give some complementary information as to the methods of taming wild birds the paper will present Emperor Frederick II and his book De arte venandi cum avibus in order to exemplify the legal status and the duties of a falconer within a courtly household. This might shed new light on literary motifs of tamed falcons in German courtly poetry and heroic epics such as the Nibelungenlied.