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The Archaeology of Mesoamerican Animals

Edited by Christopher M. Götz and Kitty F. Emery


Recognition of the role of animals in ancient diet, economy, politics, and ritual is vital to understanding ancient cultures fully, while following the clues available from animal remains in reconstructing environments is vital to understanding the ancient relationship between humans and the world around them. In response to the growing interest in the field of zooarchaeology, this volume presents current research from across the many cultures and regions of Mesoamerica, dealing specifically with the most current issues in zooarchaeological literature. Geographically, the essays collected here index the different aspects of animal use by the indigenous populations of the entire area between the northern borders of Mexico and the southern borders of lower Central America. This includes such diverse cultures as the north Mexican hunter-gatherers, the Olmec, Maya, Mixtec, Zapotec, and Central American Indians. The time frame of the volume extends from the earliest human occupation, the Preclassic, Classic, Postclassic, and Colonial manifestations, to recent times. The book's chapters, written by experts in the field of Mesoamerican zooarchaeology, provide important general background on the domestic and ritual use of animals in early and classic Mesoamerica and Central America, but deal also with special aspects of human-animal relationships such as early domestication and symbolism of animals, and important yet otherwise poorly represented aspects of taphonomy and zooarchaeological methodology.


Spanish-language version also available (ISBN 978-1-937040-12-3).

The Archaeology of Mesoamerican Animals

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    Archaeobiology vol. 1

    808 pages (with 121 figures, 72 tables plus digital component)

    9 x 6 inches

    ISBN 978-1-937040-05-5 (paper)

    ISBN 978-1-937040-15-4 (PDF)

    November 2013

  • Table of Contents

    List of Figures

    List of Tables



    1 Introduction Christopher M. Götz


    Northwest Area and Central Plateau


    2 Dog Remains from the Marismas Nacionales Elizabeth S. Wing

    3 Coastal Resources in the City of the Gods Bernardo Rodríguez Galicia and Raúl Valadez Azúa

    4 Birds of the Pre-Hispanic Domestic Spheres of Central Mexico Eduardo Corona-Martínez

    5 The Zooarchaeology of Olmec and Epi-Olmec Foodways along Mexico's Gulf Coast Tanya M. Peres, Amber M. Vanderwarker, and Christopher A. Pool

    6 Animal Use in the Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca, Mexico Heather A. Lapham, Andrew K. Balkansky, Ayla M. Amadio

    7 Animal Economies in Pre-Hispanic Southern Mexico Heather A. Lapham, Gary M. Feinman, Linda M. Nicholas


    Northern Maya Lowlands


    8 The Use of Animals by the Pre-Hispanic Maya of the Northern Lowlands Christopher M. Götz and Travis W. Stanton

    9 Animal Consumption at the Monumental Center of Mayapán Marilyn A. Masson and Carlos Peraza Lope

    10 Archaeofauna at Isla Cilvituk, Campeche, Mexico: Residential Site Structure and Taphonomy in Postclassic Mesoamerica Rani T. Alexander, John A. Hunter, Sean Arata, Ruth Martínez Cervantes, and Kristen Scudder


    Southern Maya Lowlands and Maya Highlands


    11 Inferring the Archaeological Context through Taphonomy: The Use of the White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Chinikihá, Chiapas Coral Montero López

    12 Late-Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Animal Use by San Pedro Maya and British Populations at Holotunich, Belize Erin Kennedy Thornton and Olivia Ng Cackler

    13 Archaeological Animals of the Southern Maya Highlands: Zooarchaeology of Kaminaljuyu Kitty F. Emery, Erin Kennedy Thornton, Nicole R. Cannarozzi, Stephen Houston, and Héctor Escobedo


    Mesoamerica's Southern Neighbors


    14 Preliminary Analysis of the Zooarchaeology of the San Cristóbal Site, Nicaragua: The Bounty of Mohammed's Paradise David N. Rewniak, Paul F. Healy, and Morgan Tamplin

    15 Molluscs as Food in a Prolific Coastal Environment: Evidence for Selective Foraging and Taphonomy from Cueva de los Vampiros (Central Panama) Diana Rocío Carvajal Contreras

    16 Pre-Columbian Exploitation of Birds around Panama Bay Richard G. Cooke, David W. Steadman, Máximo Jiménez, and Ilean Isaza Aizpurúa

    17 Crawling and Walking at the Same Time: Challenges in "Animal Archaeology" in Northern South America Elizabeth Ramos Roca


    Taxonomic Reviews of Mesoamerican Fauna


    18 The Dog in the Mexican Archaeozoological Record Raúl Valadez Azúa, Alicia Blanco Padilla, Bernardo Rodríguez Galicia, and Gilberto Pérez Roldán

    19 Bats in Ancient Mesoamerica Laura Navarro and Joaquín Arroyo-Cabrales

    20 Conclusion: From Zooarchaeological Remains to a Human Context Kitty F. Emery


    References Cited

    List of Contributors

    Subject Index

    Index of Places

    Taxonomic Index

    Digital Companion


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