Paleofecal Analysis from a Human Behavioral Ecology Perspective

Author(s): Jenna Battillo

Year: 2017


Paleofecal research has benefited from many recent methodological advances, such as SEM and high-throughput DNA sequencing. However, as our results grow both more robust and more precise, our interpretations have not always followed suit. Researchers are eager to establish what was on the menu, but often more cautious in exploring the biocultural and evolutionary implications of those findings. Some scholars have argued that it is difficult to apply human behavioral ecology (HBE) models to archaeological data due to its incomplete nature. Although as Tim Riley (2012) points out, paleofeces represent a set of a single person’s subsistence choices within a constrained time period, making them an ideal vehicle for the application of diet-breadth and other optimality models. This presentation will address how paleofecal analysts can apply HBE models to discern subsistence choices and provide a theoretical base for understanding the motivations for those choices. To that end, I will use examples of paleofecal research from the American Southwest, including my own work applying diet-breadth and patch-choice models to the analysis of 44 Basketmaker II period paleofeces from Turkey Pen Ruin, Utah.

Cite this Record

Paleofecal Analysis from a Human Behavioral Ecology Perspective. Jenna Battillo. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430412)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14878