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Interpretations of the Use of Avian and Mammalian Fauna at Sapa’owingeh (LA 306)

Author(s): Laura Steele

Year: 2015

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Ethnographic reports of ancestral Puebloan peoples from the twentieth century suggested a food taboo for turkeys, except in rare cases. In contrast, some archaeological interpretations involving sites that predate A.D. 1300 have concluded that turkeys were an integral part of the Puebloan diet. From a modern, secular perspective, archaeologists often assume that there is a distinct separation between the use of animals for ritual and dietary purposes. This paper argues that it is impossible to separate the prehistoric uses of animals for ritual or ceremonial practices from their use for dietary consumption. By taking a random stratified sample from midden, room, and kiva contexts from the ancestral Tewa site Sapa’owingeh excavated by Florence Hawley Ellis from 1963-1969, the significance of turkey use trends through time is determined with comparative indices. A careful examination of relationships among avian and mammalian fauna and humans during the Classic period contributes to our understanding of the integral, complex roles animals played in northern Rio Grande puebloan life.

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Interpretations of the Use of Avian and Mammalian Fauna at Sapa’owingeh (LA 306). Laura Steele. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398203)


Spatial Coverage

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

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