The role of faunal resources in subsistence practices during the transition to sedentism and agriculture in southeastern Arizona
AdvisorStiner, Mary C.
Fish, Paul R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractHigh ubiquities of maize, coupled with other evidence of extended occupations at large Early Agricultural period sites in the floodplain of the Middle Santa Cruz River, Tucson Basin, suggest an early commitment to cultivation, and raise questions about the settlement-subsistence system. Large, exceptionally well preserved faunal assemblages at these sites indicate that game made a significant dietary contribution during permanent or semi-permanent occupations with subsistence systems centered on cultivated and collected plants. To investigate diachronic changes in the selection and use of faunal resources during the transition to agricultural dependence and sedentism, estimates of available biomass, archaeofaunal assemblages, and their depositional contexts from several floodplain sites are compared. Accompanying the trends of increasing population, sedentism, and agricultural commitment, predicted changes include a decreasing frequency of artiodactyls, increasing intensity of processing of large game, an increase in the ratio of jackrabbits to cottontails, and evidence of increasing activities in communal space. Analyses of disposal contexts with primary, secondary, and de facto faunal refuse at six floodplain sites dating to the Cienega and Agua Caliente phases yielded evidence supporting these predictions. Intersite variability indicates site-specific solutions relating to settlement growth. Changes in the patterns of bone disposal in abandoned structures, short-lived intramural pits, and extramural processing features indicate that, over time, communal activities may have increased in response to faunal resource stress.
Degree ProgramGraduate College