Changes in Turkey and Artiodactyl Abundance in Central Mesa Verde and Northern Rio Grande Archaeological Assemblages
Lipe, William D.
Matson, R. G.
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Previous zooarchaeological studies in the Southwest indicate that over time, larger animal resources such as deer are replaced by smaller ones such as lagomorphs (cottontails and jackrabbits) and domesticated turkey in Ancestral Pueblo sites. These trends are identified on the basis of various faunal indices that measure the proportional abundance of one animal resource against another. In this study, we utilize an index that measures the proportion of domesticated turkey relative to artiodactyl (primarily deer) remains to explore the changes in the food contributions of the two largest food animals. We use this index to make regional and temporal comparisons between the central Mesa Verde (CMV) and northern Rio Grande regions (NRG). In the CMV, turkey became an important source of animal protein in later periods as artiodactyls decreased in abundance on the landscape. For the NRG, we expect a lower reliance on turkeys until populations increased following the depopulation of the CMV