Faunal Evidence for Subsistence Strategies at Cottonwood Spring Pueblo

Author(s): Kristin Corl

Year: 2015


The zooarchaeological assemblage from Cottonwood Spring Pueblo (LA 175), an El Paso Phase (A.D. 1275-1450) horticultural village in southern New Mexico is dominated by small game. What explains this pattern? The high relative percentage of rabbit to deer follows a general trend associated with aggregated populations, growing agriculture dependence, and less seasonal mobility. Additional variables possibly contributing to this trend include shifts to small game in response to droughts, over exploitation of larger game, niche creation by human modification, and preferential hunting strategies, all of which influence the faunal ratios regardless of dependence on agriculture. My hypothesis is that hunting of small game is a direct result of the intensification of farming. The expansion of cultivated fields creates a niche that attracts rabbits that would otherwise live in grassland environments, which are then targeted for hunting. To assess this hypothesis I examine archaeological evidence of field expansion, environmental evidence of precipitation and temperature, and faunal data including game species (lagomorphs, deer, antelope) as well as proxy species of microenvironments (e.g. rodents). I also examine stable carbon and nitrogen isotope patterning in a sample of lagomorphs to assess whether they were consuming grassland plants (C4) or domesticate plants (C3).

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Cite this Record

Faunal Evidence for Subsistence Strategies at Cottonwood Spring Pueblo. Kristin Corl. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397758)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Fauna Mogollon Pueblo

Geographic Keywords
North America - Southwest

Spatial Coverage

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