Graduate Theses & Dissertations

Maya Exploitation of Animal Resources during the Middle Preclassic Period
This study examines the foraging strategies of animal resource exploitation during the Middle Preclassic period (900-300 BC) at the ancient Maya site of Pacbitun, Belize. The faunal remains analyzed in this study were recovered from various domestic structures associated with the production of shell artifacts. Detailed taphonomic analyses have revealed that the Pacbitun faunal remains were particularly affected by weathering and density-mediated attrition. White-tailed deer was the prey most frequently acquired by the Middle Preclassic Maya of Pacbitun, followed by other lower-ranked artiodactyls. A variety of less profitable prey were sometimes included in the diet breadth. Using the central place forager prey choice model as a framework, the analysis of diet breadth, habitat use, and carcass transport patterns suggests that most animal resources were acquired from terrestrial habitats, at short distances from the site. Complete carcasses of large game appear to have been frequently transported to the site, where they were exploited for their meat and marrow. Comparisons with other Middle Preclassic faunal assemblages indicate significant differences in terms of taxonomic composition, with an emphasis on the procurement of fish and turtles. It is suggested that the Middle Preclassic Maya adopted foraging strategies focusing on the exploitation of local habitats, with occasional use of exotic resources. Author Keywords: Animal, Belize, Foraging, Maya, Subsistence, Zooarchaeology
Holocene Resource Exploitation
This study uses the zooarchaeological record to examine the range of activities represented in Late Archaic period samples excavated from Jacob's Island -1B, in the Trent-Severn Waterway region in Ontario. Radiocarbon dates from sixteen features were used to establish a chronology of site use and occupation. The faunal remains analyzed in this study were recovered from seven dated mortuary features associated with human remains. The results of the faunal analysis suggest that Canis lupus familiaris was the primary species interred at Jacob's Island-1B. Small rodents, specifically Tamias striatus were also found in high abundance and are possibly the result of natural burrowing disturbances. Red ochre staining and low levels of burning were identified. Comparisons with other contemporaneous sites in the region indicate some variation in species composition. It is suggested that Canis lupus familiaris was associated with ritual and mortuary activities at Jacob's Island-1B. Author Keywords: Canis lupus familiaris, Late Archaic Period, Ontario, Ritualsim, Zooarchaeology
Stable Isotope Analysis of Archaeological Faunal Remains From the Middle Trent Valley, Ontario
A sample of faunal remains (n=129) from seven archaeological sites located on Pigeon and Rice Lakes, Ontario were sampled and analyzed for the stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of bone collagen. These samples date from the Archaic to Late Woodland and include 35 different animal species. The goal of this research was to investigate the isotope ecology of the Middle Trent Valley and characterize the degree to which isotope ratios varied across space and time between different lakes, as wells as variation within and between species. There were no statistically significant differences in the Middle Trent Valley δ13C or δ15N according to space and time. As such, the isotope data for all archaeological sites were combined to construct an isotope food web for the Middle Trent Valley and compared to Katzenberg’s (1989) food web. These isotope data provide some insight into the dynamic interplay between local ecosystems, and anthropogenically modified landscapes in Ontario. Author Keywords: carbon, food web reconstruction, human-animal relations, Middle Trent Valley, nitrogen, Stable isotope ecology
Late Epigravettian Resource Exploitation in the Southern Pre-Alpine Region
This study examines the foraging strategies employed by Late Epigravettian occupants at Riparo Tagliente, Italy. The study sample is composed of highly fragmented macrofaunal remains recovered from a single stratigraphic layer (layer 617) located at the cave border in the southern portion of the site. Models derived from foraging theory, chiefly the Central Place Forager Prey Choice Model, are applied to interpret the pattern of faunal exploitation. Red deer (Cervus elaphus) is the most commonly identified species in the sample, followed by roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa). The faunal analysis suggests that the site occupants focused their foraging efforts in lower–altitude resource patches at short travel distances. The distribution and composition of the sample indicates that bone may have been used as a fuel source in this area. Author Keywords: Archaeozoology, Foraging Theory, Taphonomy, Upper Paleolithic
Testing the Validity of Dental Calculus as a Proxy to Bone in Paleodietary Studies Using Stable Isotope Analysis
This study investigates the use of dental calculus for paleodietary studies using stable isotope analysis of a skeletal sample from the Greek colonial site of Apollonia Pontica, Bulgaria (5th to 3rd century BC). A sample of 27 individuals was used to examine the δ13C and δ15N values of paired dental calculus and bone samples, and the dental calculus was analyzed as separate organic and inorganic components. No significant correlation was found between the δ13C values of either the bone collagen and organic dental calculus samples, or the bone apatite and inorganic dental calculus samples. A significant correlation was found between the δ15N values of the bone collagen and organic dental calculus samples; however, the reason for this correlation is unclear. A greater range of variation in the δ13C and δ15N values was found in the organic dental calculus samples compared to the respective bone collagen samples. These results suggest that dental calculus is not an appropriate proxy to bone for paleodietary studies using stable isotope analysis and that any dietary signal is clouded by other data. The oral microbiome is considerably diverse and is the most probable explanation for the great range of stable isotope values obtained from dental calculus. A significant, strong correlation was found between the C/N ratios and δ15N values of the organic dental calculus samples, suggesting that the lowest C/N ratios and δ15N values depict deposits with the least bacterial alteration. Author Keywords: carbon, dental calculus, nitrogen, paleodietary studies, Social Sciences, stable isotopes
From Foraging to Farming
This study examines foraging strategies during the Middle Woodland Period’s Sandbanks Phase (A.D. 700–1000) on Boyd Island, Pigeon Lake, Ontario. The faunal remains analyzed in this study were recovered from a site associated with the procurement of aquatic and terrestrial taxa. Detailed taphonomic analyses have revealed that the Boyd Island faunal remains were affected by weathering and human transport decisions. White-tailed deer was the most frequently acquired prey at Boyd Island, followed by black bear. Using the central place forager prey choice model as a framework, the analysis of diet breadth and carcass transport patterns suggests that most animal resources were acquired from both aquatic and terrestrial habitats, at moderate distances from the site. Incomplete carcasses of large game appear to have been transported away from the site, where they were subsequently processed for provisioning or consumption. Comparisons with other Sandbanks faunal assemblages and those dating to later periods indicate significant differences in terms of taxonomic composition, while continuing to emphasize the use of fish. It is suggested that the Middle Woodland foragers adopted subsistence strategies focusing on the exploitation of local habitats in which productivity may have been enhanced through niche construction associated with the low-level food production activities. Author Keywords: animal resource exploitation, archaeozoology, foraging theory, Middle Woodland, niche construction theory, southcentral Ontario

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