Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

1977

Abstract

Prehistoric coprolites (dessicated human fecal material) from the Anasazi region of the American Southwest are examined for the purpose of dietary reconstruction. Using published reports and unpublished data on 179 coprolites from Basketmaker (A.D. 600) to late Pueblo III (A.D. 1250) proveniences, a widespread cultural-ecological adaptation to the plateau area of the Four-corners area is illustrated through diet. iii A few major trends through time are noted for the Anasazi populations. Changes in the use of cultivated plants are increasing use of seed crops (i.e. corn and cotton), and decrease of squash in the diet. In addition, later populations utilized a wide variety of weed plants that would be found around disturbed areas and concentrated less on pinon nut consumption. These trends are seen as a shift in subsistence strategies due to population pressure and widespread ecological disturbance, attributed to temperate latitude swidden farming methods and cultural effects on the ecosystem. The Anasazi, due to these ecological imbalances were forced to eventually abandon the area.

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