Supplementing Maize Agriculture in Basketmaker II Subsistence Dietary Analysis of Human Paleofeces from Turkey Pen Ruin
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This research explores the factors that motivated increasing reliance on maize during the Basketmaker II period in the North American Southwest. Through the analysis of 44 human paleofeces from Turkey Pen Ruin, Utah, I investigate resource choice and nutritional supplementation of maize before the advent of bean horticulture. In order to discern what resources provided caloric and nutritional supplementation to maize, all paleofecal specimens were analyzed for pollen and macrofossil content, and 20 were further sampled for PCR analysis targeted at several select animal and plant species. Eight paleofecal specimens from various stratigraphic layers were directly AMS dated in order to better assess the chronology of the midden from which they were excavated, and to determine their cultural phase association. The resulting data allowed for the testing of three hypotheses based in human behavioral ecology, specifically applying diet-breadth and patch-choice models.