Previous research in the Northern San Juan Region of the American Southwest has revealed a pattern of change in subsistence patterns from the Basketmaker II through Pueblo III periods. Jonathan C. Driver describes the pattern as: cottontail in Basketmaker III (500 to 750 CE) and Pueblo I (750 to 900 CE), deer in Pueblo II (900 to 1150 CE), and turkey in Pueblo III (1150 to 1350 CE). The transition from deer to turkey as the main subsistence has been recorded at several sites throughout the Northern San Juan Region and is thought to be caused by the overhunting of deer and increasing social strain. This combination is theorized to have caused the domestication of turkey as a last resort. Analysis conducted on faunal remains and eggshell recovered during excavation at Coal Bed Village by Brigham Young University et al. supports part of this pattern. Evidence of ritual display is evident in Basketmaker III and early Pueblo II contexts, with evidence of ritual or communal feasting in the early Pueblo II period. The rest of the assemblage appears to be domestic refuse. When compared to other large sites within the Montezuma Canyon, Coal Bed Village appears to have greater access to small artiodactyl throughout each of the periods. Contrary to expectations, adult turkey appears to have been eaten in the Basketmaker III, early Pueblo II, and Pueblo III periods. SEM analysis on turkey eggshell from each of these periods suggests that turkeys were domesticated since the Basketmaker III period, with the fresh eggs used as a protein supplement to the Puebloan diet throughout each of the periods. Changes to the amount of embryonic development suggest that, as the periods progressed, the Puebloans continued to use fresh eggs, but also increased the amount of eggs that developed to hatching.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Anthropology



Date Submitted


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Ancestral Puebloan, Montezuma Canyon, Northern San Juan, faunal, zooarchaeology, turkey, turkey domestication, ritual feasting, ritual display, SEM analysis, eggshell, deer, cottontail