Exploring Turkey Exploitation and Management in the Maya Lowlands


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 one of the few intensively managed species in Mesoamerica, the turkey plays a key role in understanding cultural interactions and subsistence, particularly in the Mayan lowlands. Two populations of turkeys were exploited in this region: the local, wild ocellated turkey (Meleagris ocellata) as well as the non-local Mexican turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), likely introduced by the Late Preclassic. Here, we apply biomolecular methods to archaeological and modern turkeys to explore the timing of the adoption of turkey husbandry, and the intensity of turkey management in the Maya Lowlands. We conduct ancient genomic analyses to document the distribution of ocellated and common turkeys within archaeological contexts, identify the sex ratios of the birds, and provide insight into genetic diversity of local and non-local turkeys. We combine these results with stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses to document the diversity of feeding strategies in captively-reared and wild individuals.

Cite this Record

Exploring Turkey Exploitation and Management in the Maya Lowlands. Camilla Speller, Erin Thornton, Aurélie Manin, Kitty Emery. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450891)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.197; min lat: 16.004 ; max long: -86.682; max lat: 21.984 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23685