'Bugs in Eagle Cave, Lower Pecos Canyonlands, Texas'‏

Author(s): Eva Panagiotakopulu

Year: 2015


The desiccating conditions in desert caves provide a unique opportunity for detailed research on organic materials. Previous examples of insect studies from the desert edge in Egypt, from Akhenaten’s city at Amarna, have indicated the potential of research with fossil insects, both for understanding environmental change and the nature of agriculture, and also for evidence of the early biogeography of insect borne diseases. However, there is limited information on hunter gatherer societies and origins of any accompanying ‘pests‘ of storage and occupation sites– from bed bugs to corn weevils - and there is virtually no relevant research from US sites. Excavations at Eagle Cave have produced rich and optimally preserved insect remains from deposits long pre-Columbus, associated with food debris. The material involves primarily Coleoptera , and a few Hemiptera, and consists of species which are in their majority pests of stored products, infesting pulses and squash and breeding in mouldy materials stored in the cave. This material provides the opportunity to view the transition from hunter gathering to agriculture from the point of view of the uninvited lodgers of Eagle's Cave and also to fill in the gaps for the early establishment of New World pests in stored foodstuffs.

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Cite this Record

'Bugs in Eagle Cave, Lower Pecos Canyonlands, Texas'‏. Eva Panagiotakopulu. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396754)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;