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Holes: The Beginners Guide to Food Caching

Author(s): Kathryn Frederick

Year: 2015

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The Michigan State University Subterranean Storage Research Experiment (MSU SStoRE) employed experimental archaeology to better understand the storage efficiency, capacity, and reliability of hunter-gatherer food storage pits. Drawing on archaeological, ethnographic, and ethnohistoric information the project accurately recreated below ground storage pits for the late Late Woodland period (A.D. 1000-1600) of northern lower Michigan. Over three consecutive yearly cycles, subterranean storage pits were constructed with appropriate lining materials, filled with dried blueberries, acorns, and corn, and cached from November until late March. During the five month period the pits were monitored for temperature and humidity multiple times daily. Revisions were made each annual cycle, culminating in a successful storage episode. The most recent caching of foodstuffs was tested for microtoxins, pathogens, and water activity level in order to determine food safety. This paper discusses the lessons learned, resulting degree of success, and the importance of MSU SStoRE for archaeological research.

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Holes: The Beginners Guide to Food Caching. Kathryn Frederick. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397815)


Geographic Keywords
North America - Midwest

Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America