The Archaeobotany of Kelley Cave (41VV164): A Glimpse of Prehistoric Plant Use in the Lower Pecos Region of Texas

Author(s): Leslie Bush; Kevin Hanselka; Phil Dering

Year: 2015


Sheltered sites in the Lower Pecos region of Texas are renowned for their spectacular plant preservation. Recent excavations in Kelley Cave (41VV164) in Eagle Nest Canyon yielded abundant well-preserved plant remains within Feature 4, a large pit thought to represent an earth oven facility with a complex history of use and abandonment. Most of the plant materials from Feature 4 probably represent the accumulation of waste products of plant foods prepared in other nearby earth ovens, intermingled with manufacturing waste produced as agave and sotol leaves were stripped into fiber for twisted twine or for weaving mats or baskets. These materials illuminate ecological interrelations between the prehistoric site occupants and the surrounding natural landscape, and have implications regarding: preferences and selection of local plants for food and fuelwood; behavioral patterns of food plant harvesting and processing; modification of plant parts into material culture such as tools, cordage, and textiles; seasonality of site use; and the nature of past environments surrounding the shelters at time of site occupation. In this paper we present the results of an ongoing archaeobotanical analysis of the plant materials from Feature 4 and from other contexts within Kelley Cave.

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Cite this Record

The Archaeobotany of Kelley Cave (41VV164): A Glimpse of Prehistoric Plant Use in the Lower Pecos Region of Texas. Kevin Hanselka, Leslie Bush, Phil Dering. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396757)


Spatial Coverage

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