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Botanical and aDNA Analysis of the Dietary Contents of Human Paleofeces from Turkey Pen Ruin, Utah

Author(s): Jenna Battillo ; Karen Lupo ; Jaime Mata-Miguez ; Rick W.A. Smith ; Deborah A. Bolnick

Year: 2016

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Over the last few decades archaeologists and paleontologists have made great strides in paleofecal analysis, not the least of which was the application of aDNA testing. However, most aDNA analyses of paleofeces have focused exclusively on studying human populations and researchers have largely ignored the potential for using this tool to study dietary constituents themselves. In this study, we present analyses of aDNA from both the faunal and floral dietary constituents of 20 Basketmaker II (BMII) paleofecal samples from Turkey Pen Ruin, Cedar Mesa, Utah. Palynological data in concert with animal and plant aDNA, yields insights into seasonal resource use and the individual diets of the ancient inhabitants of Turkey Pen Ruin. Importantly these data show that BMII populations were consuming animal protein from a wide variety of large animals (including turkey), which conflicts with previous ideas about BMII diet at this site. We hope that with this data we will be able to paint a more comprehensive picture of Basketmaker II diet at Cedar Mesa, and in particular help to form a better understanding of the ways in which people in the Southwest supplemented the incomplete nutrition in maize prior to bean horticulture.

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Botanical and aDNA Analysis of the Dietary Contents of Human Paleofeces from Turkey Pen Ruin, Utah. Jenna Battillo, Karen Lupo, Jaime Mata-Miguez, Rick W.A. Smith, Deborah A. Bolnick. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405092)


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