Lagomorph exploitation and garden hunting in the northern San Juan region

Author(s): Steve Wolverton; Laura Ellyson

Year: 2015


The northern San Juan (NSJ) region of the United States contains a high density of archaeological sites. Ancestral Puebloan people lived in small hamlets (ca. AD 1000) prior to aggregating into large pueblo villages (ca. AD 1150). Periods of drought occurred prior to the abandonment of this sub-region (ca. AD 1300), influencing the availability of animal resources. Zooarchaeological studies of subsistence in the NSJ region have focused on a decline in availability of large game concurrent with increasing reliance on small wild and domesticated resources. This can be attributed to a combination of factors including resource depression and habitat change as human populations grew prior to the depopulation of the region. Faunal assemblages from later occupation periods are dominated by lagomorphs, specifically cottontails. Shifts in lagomorph abundance are thought to indicate habitat alteration; however it is possible that relatively K-selected jackrabbits (Lepus sp.) were overexploited leading to an increased reliance upon more r-selected cottontails (Sylvilagus sp.) through garden hunting practices. Zooarchaeological studies of resource depression use the test implication that under substantial harvest pressure, mortality profiles exhibit steepened survivorship (increased representation of juvenile animals). This possibility is explored through analysis of zooarchaeological mortality data from sites in the NSJ region.

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Cite this Record

Lagomorph exploitation and garden hunting in the northern San Juan region. Steve Wolverton, Laura Ellyson. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396226)

Spatial Coverage

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