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Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

, Volume 11, Issue 11, pp 5963–5982 | Cite as

Middle Holocene menus: dietary reconstruction from coprolites at the Connley Caves, Oregon, USA

  • Katelyn N. McDonoughEmail author
Original Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Coprolite Research: Archaeological and Paleoenvironmental Potentials

Abstract

Multiproxy data from coprolites at the Connley Caves in central Oregon provide new evidence for diet, seasonal subsistence strategies, and human health during the middle and late Holocene. Macrobotanical, palynological, and faunal components show that plant taxa from wetland and dryland habitats functioned as dietary staples. Repeated and abundant representation of wetland resources coupled with small dryland seeds provide strong evidence for dietary continuity between ~ 5700 and 3200 calendar years ago. Seasonal availability of represented taxa indicates late summer and early fall habitation. Minimal evidence for parasitic infection and unusual constituents such as cordage raise questions regarding health and cultural behavior. As the first coprolite analysis for this time period in the northern Great Basin, this study contributes unique datasets that complement and clarify the regional understanding of hunter-gatherer settlement-subsistence strategies and food economy.

Keywords

Paleodietary reconstruction Coprolites Middle Holocene Hunter-gatherer subsistence Great Basin 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Research assistance was provided by Vaughn Bryant, Jaime Kennedy, Kathryn Puseman, Margaret Helzer, Thomas Craig, Heather Thakar, and David Carlson. Support for this research was provided by an AASP-TPS Palynological Society Student Research Grant, a Texas A&M Department of Anthropology Pilot Study Award, and Arthur Hurley. New radiocarbon ages on basketry were funded by William Cannon and the Lakeview Bureau of Land Management. Access to land and archeological collections was provided by the Bureau of Land Management and the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Comparative seeds were provided by the National Plant Germplasm System. I am grateful to Vaughn Bryant, Ted Goebel, Dennis Jenkins, and Richard Rosencrance for their comments on an earlier draft. This article was also improved by the insightful comments provided by John Blong, Tom Connolly, and an anonymous reviewer. I would also like to thank the many students who participated in the Connley Caves Field School and helped recover the materials used in this study.

Supplementary material

12520_2019_828_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (177 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 177 kb)
12520_2019_828_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (24 kb)
ESm 2 (XLSX 23 kb)

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for the Study of the First Americans, Department of AnthropologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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