Faunal and Botanical Evidence of Changes in Patch Use from the Terminal Pleistocene through Middle Holocene at Dust Cave, AL

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 17 March, 2016 - 13:30
, Elic - University of Utah

Recent research has argued for geographic variability in foraging behavior during the terminal Pleistocene of North America, and specifically demonstrated the exploitation of many different patch types in the East due to environmental heterogeneity. Less attention has thus far been paid to diachronic analyses of prey and patch choice, largely due to a dearth of stratified sites with well-preserved faunal and botanical assemblages dating to the time period. Recovery of abundant faunal and botanical remains from Dust Cave, Alabama permits such an exploration. Given local paleoclimate data for the late Pleistocene through Middle Holocene periods, I hypothesize that lowland resource patches should have been exploited in Late Paleoindian and Early Archaic times and upland patches in the Middle Archaic. I test this hypothesis with foraging theory models applied to faunal and botanical data from Dust Cave. These data support my hypothesis of climate-driven changes in patch use through time.