Residues of ancient food preparation in sheltered bedrock features


Recent analysis of bedrock features located in several dry rock shelters across the arid western U.S. indicate that such settings provide favorable contexts for organic residue preservation. Residues extracted from these contexts can provide a unique window into past functions and resource use. Gas chromatography / mass spectrometry (GC/MS) was used to identify and quantify very small amounts of lipids absorbed and preserved in the various bedrock features. Though organic residue studies are increasingly used to identify the use and processing of various plant and animal products in prehistory, investigations of lipid preservation in ground stone artifacts remain scarce. One reason for this situation is the expectation of poor preservation in ground stone artifacts. Dry rock shelters in the arid western U.S. are known to provide exceptional preservation for a range of organic artifacts and ecofacts and offer likely settings to encounter lipid residues from ancient food processing. Bedrock features in these contexts may provide additional benefits by retaining products typically leached away in open sites. The interpretive potential of absorbed organic residues from these contexts will be discussed and methods for sampling these types of features in the field will be described.

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Cite this Record

Residues of ancient food preparation in sheltered bedrock features. Tammy Buonasera, Steve Black, Amanda Castaneda, Dani Nadel, Jelmer Eerkens. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395192)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;