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Animal Use at Nixtun-Ch'ich': Preclassic Canids, Postclassic Crocodiles, and Contact Period Cows

Author(s): Tucker Austin ; Carolyn Freiwald ; Melissa Quartarone ; Hali Niles ; Timothy Pugh

Year: 2016

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A number of general trends characterize changes in Maya animal use over time. Previous studies have found that remains of dogs are most common in Preclassic contexts, while Classic period elite deposits typically consist mainly of large game, such as whitetail deer. Native species remained important even after the introduction of European domesticated species during the Contact and Colonial periods. Unfortunately, large faunal deposits that span multiple time periods are absent at most Maya centers. We report changing patterns in animal use at Nixtun-Ch'ich', Guatemala based on data derived from excavations of public locations dating from the Preclassic to the Contact periods. While dogs were used preferentially in Preclassic ritual activities, Postclassic deposits included a wider variety of animal species, such as snakes, crocodiles, and small game, and even cows after the transition to the Contact and Colonial periods. Reliance on lacustrine and riverine resources continued during all time periods, but preference for different species shows participation in distinct trade networks or and catchments over time.

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Animal Use at Nixtun-Ch'ich': Preclassic Canids, Postclassic Crocodiles, and Contact Period Cows. Tucker Austin, Carolyn Freiwald, Melissa Quartarone, Hali Niles, Timothy Pugh. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404152)


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Spatial Coverage

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

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