The UTM Zooarchaeology Lab and the Deborah J. Berg Faunal Collection

two people at a table in a lab surrounded by tray drawers
The zooarchaeology lab at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Photo by T. Orchard, © Department of Anthropology.

The Deborah J. Berg faunal collection at the University of Toronto Mississauga provides a comparative library of animal skeletons for teaching purposes and for aiding in the identification of unknown skeletal elements from archaeological sites and forensic contexts. Debbie Berg was the departmental technician for more than 25 years prior to her retirement in 2014, and was responsible for initiating and creating the majority of the collection. Since 2014, the collection has been managed and expanded by Dr. Trevor Orchard, the current departmental technician.

Comparative collection

The comparative collection is substantial, containing more than 1,500 individual skeletons or partial skeletons representing more than 460 species, with a class-breakdown as follows:

  • Mammals – 470 specimens; 103 species
  • Birds – 565 specimens; 195 species
  • Fish – 235 specimens; 80 species
  • Amphibians & Reptiles – 99 specimens; 33 species
  • Molluscs – 132 specimens; 50 species

The majority of the collection consists of species that are indigenous or introduced to Ontario, though there are also a variety of exotic species represented.

View a detailed summary of the species in the collection (PDF)


The UTM zooarchaeology lab facility houses the collection with specimens organized in roughly taxonomic order. The lab also contains open, flexible work spaces and equipment necessary zooarchaeological analysis. The UTM Department of Anthropology also has a zooarchaeology preparation lab used to prepare animal skeletons for inclusion in the comparative faunal collection.