The Department for Bioarchaeology is part of the OeAI with the RG Anthropology and Necropoleis, the RG Archaeozoology and the RG Archaeobotany. Bioarchaeology is an integral part of archaeological research for reconstructing and answering socio-economic, historical-cultural, and environmental historical questions. The department is embedded in an archaeological institution permitting the development and implementation of interdisciplinary nationally and internationally focused research projects by exploiting emerging synergy effects.
Bioarchaeology deals with the organic remains of the finds from archaeological excavations as part of the scientific disciplines of anthropology, archaeozoology, and archaeobotany. Osteology deals with bones: human anthropology is the study of human remains, archaeozoology the study of animal remains. Bones and skeletons provide a wealth of information on the living conditions, the sex and age, the origin and kinship or the state of health of humans and animals. The identification and interpretation of plant remains from archaeological excavations falls within the scope of archaeobotany. Archaeobotanical remains are varied; they range from inconspicuous charred seeds and grains to tiny pollen to timber or valuable furniture woods.
The relationship of human – animal –plant is the focus of many archaeological questions as for example the reconstruction of vegetation and agricultural and environmental history in the area of Ephesos over a very long time period. The study of nutrition and food strategies is fundamental – animal breeding, fishing, or the history of the preparation of bread. Bioarchaeological research can also answer questions regarding trade, cult, or social stratifications of societies in the form of meaningful finds or by analyzing burials. In current projects with the help of modern biomolecular methods on bioarchaeological remains diets are being reconstructed through the study of stable isotopes or questions regarding kinship, origin as well as presence and evolution of diseases is being studied on the basis of DNA-analyses.