Utilization of Faunal Resources at the Merchant Site, Southeastern New Mexico

Date and Time: 
Friday, 18 March, 2016 - 09:45
, Jeremy - Eastern New Mexico University
, John - University of Michigan
, Myles - Versar

Archaeological investigations at the Merchant Site recovered a large faunal assemblage.  Results from the faunal analysis indicate that the prehistoric inhabitants of this 14th century pueblo relied heavily on large mammal resources, specifically bison and deer/pronghorn, for dietary purposes.  Although remains of small mammals are present, they represent an extremely small proportion of the assemblage.  The low quantity of small mammal remains appears to be a reflection of their limited importance as a food source, and not the result of excavation or screening bias. The high quantities of artiodactyl remains recovered from the Merchant site raises interesting questions concerning the relative abundance of large mammals in the local area during this time period, as well as the amount of time and energy potentially invested in long distance hunting by the inhabitants of the site, and the possible use of bison meat and hides as a trade good.