Strontium Isotope Values for Early Colonial Cows at San Bernabe, A Spanish Mission in the Peten Lakes Region of Guatemala
The earliest Spanish explorers in the 15th century brought ships stocked with European domesticated animals. Yet for nearly two centuries, the Maya living in Guatemala’s Peten Lakes region continued to rely on traditional wild animal species. A small number of cow and horse bones have been identified in Contact period contexts at Zacpeten and Tayasal, but significant changes in animal use are only visible after the Spanish began to build missions in the region during the early 1700s. We explore the introduction of cows, pigs, and horses to the region at the San Bernabe mission near Tayasal. Strontium isotope values provide information on where these animals were acquired, and zooarchaeological analysis provides information on animal rearing and butchery practices, as well as access to the new species by different groups residing at the site. Examination of the San Bernabe faunal assemblage shows a continued reliance on lacustrine resources such as turtles and snails, though other data suggest a marked change in diet. We examine the potential impact of this new lifestyle on land use, farming, and even the health of the regional population.
Cite this Record
Strontium Isotope Values for Early Colonial Cows at San Bernabe, A Spanish Mission in the Peten Lakes Region of Guatemala. Carolyn Freiwald, Timothy Pugh. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403804)
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min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;