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Much more than meat alone : the role of cervids in Pre-Colombian subsistence strategies in Panama

Abstract : This research seeks to understand the hunting of the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and dwarf deer (Mazama sp.) as a subsistence strategy in Pre Columbian Panama. From pre-ceramic groups to complex politicized societies located in the area of Parita Bay (Cerro Mangote [7800-4600 cal yr BP], Sitio Sierra [2200 -500 cal yr. BP] and Cerro Juan Díaz [300 BCE - 1600 CE]) and Pearl Island archipelago (Playa don Bernardo [6200-5600 cal yr BP]). In order to better understand human and deer relation across time and space, it was proposed a multiproxy study of deer samples, that includes zooarchaeology, taphonomy, mesowear, microwear, isotopes analysis and geometric morphometrics. The white-tailed deer was dietarily and culturally by far the most important mammal at Late Preceramic Cerro Mangote. By studying, the deer sample from Sitio Sierra it can be concluded that ritual activities mediated the feasts where deer meat was the principal course. The refuse feature in Operation 1/1B at Cerro Juan Díaz clearly represents the waste of a deer bone and antler workshop. In the case of Playa don Bernardo, human intervention produced heavy impacts on terrestrial mammals including insular extirpation of the dwarf deer between 5700 and 2300 cal yr BP. The white-tailed deer was an animal with restricted access because of its polysemic ritual significance at Parita Bay in particular within Greater Coclé semiotic system. The zooarchaeological record of Parita Bay evidences that human groups did not rely upon white-tailed deer, they had a broad-spectrum diet. The study of white-tailed deer in the archaeological record of this area did not evidence an intensification in deer hunting, the presence of deer is constant along the human occupation sequence and even modern times.
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Submitted on : Saturday, January 15, 2022 - 1:01:39 AM
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Maria Fernanda Martinez Polanco. Much more than meat alone : the role of cervids in Pre-Colombian subsistence strategies in Panama. Archaeology and Prehistory. Museum national d'histoire naturelle - MNHN PARIS; Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragone, Espagne), 2021. English. ⟨NNT : 2021MNHN0007⟩. ⟨tel-03527127⟩



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