Collecting in Context: a Study of the Milwaukee Public Museum's French Paleolithic Faunal Collection
Date of Award
Master of Science
Jean Hudson, Dawn Scher Thomae, Bettina Arnold
Archaeology, Collecting, Historiography, Museum Studies, Paleolithic, Zooarchaeology
This thesis investigates the history of collecting practices of individual collectors and
museums of French Paleolithic archaeological material between 1869 and 1945. During this time period, thousands of French archaeological artifacts were dispersed to museums throughout North America, many with scant provenience. National agendas and the social and economic factors of the time greatly affected their dispersal. The individual agendas of the collector also played a role. This in turn had impacts on the overall understanding of these collections as well as the contemporary construction of archaeological knowledge relating to the study of early humans.
A sizable French Paleolithic faunal collection at the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM)
serves as a primary source to investigate this rich history. The faunal remains consist of 245
animal bones, antler fragments, worked bone tools, and conglomerates of bone fragments
embedded in a mineralized soil matrix. These materials originate from 11 different Paleolithic
sites and/or regions in southern France. The items are identified to taxa and skeletal element,
reviewed for evidence of cultural and natural modification, and photographed, with the intent to make the collection available for future researchers.
Fetzer, Rebecca, "Collecting in Context: a Study of the Milwaukee Public Museum's French Paleolithic Faunal Collection" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 1031.