Pest, Prey or Domesticate: Odocoileus virginianus in the Maya World

Author(s): Rick Cantryll

Year: 2016


In 1982, Pohl and Feldman questioned whether the ancient Maya had been in the process of domesticating white-tail deer. The possibility that the Maya actively managed deer populations in proximity to human settlements deserves detailed consideration. Although white-tail deer remains are abundant in zooarchaeological assemblages, comprehensive size and demographic studies have not yet been undertaken to help establish which motives might inspired efforts toward herd management. A lack of metrical analysis presents a significant hurdle to establish sex profiles for pre-historic deer populations. This presentation will describe the methods of a new osteometric study of modern and ancient white-tail deer from North and Central America. It will demonstrate the necessity of understanding geographical and diachronic variations in body size described by Purdue, Compton, and Wolverton, in relationship to human activity in other regions in North America. This is a preliminary step toward determining the ratio of males to females in ancient deer populations. After final analysis and publication, the data from this study will be made available on open access D-bases at both the University of Nottingham and the University of Florida in Gainesville as a new research platform for future investigations.

Cite this Record

Pest, Prey or Domesticate: Odocoileus virginianus in the Maya World. Rick Cantryll. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403601)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;