Evaluating Turkey Wellness and Treatment in the Maya World


This is an abstract from the "Current Research on Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) Domestication, Husbandry and Management in North America and Beyond" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

As the primary domesticated animal in prehistoric Mesoamerica, the turkey occupied a prominent and multivalent role in society, as a food source, a feather provider, and a subject of ritual sacrifice. The preponderance of turkey remains across the archaeological record of the Maya region references the myriad ways the turkey was utilized, and the various ways its life could play out. This paper presents a health profile of domesticated turkeys based on skeletal remains gathered from various Maya sites, in order to assess and compare differences in turkey treatment and use. The analysis utilizes data on pathology and morphometrics acquired by means of computer tomography (CT) scanning, supplemented by additional data derived from aDNA and isotopic research, to establish general parameters of age, diet, and management, and evaluate the presence and possible causes of illness or trauma and signs of human intervention. The combination of several lines of evidence is beneficial in reconstructing the life histories of Maya turkeys, which may help clarify the different conditions and depositional contexts in which their remains are encountered.

Cite this Record

Evaluating Turkey Wellness and Treatment in the Maya World. Randee Fladeboe, Kitty Emery, Erin Thornton, Lori Phillips. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450880)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24190