Animal resource exploitation among the Virgin River Puebloans in the American Southwest

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4 Scopus citations


A review of the literature documenting faunal remains recovered from 16 archaeological sites attributed to the Virgin River Puebloan (VRP) tradition (ca. 300 B.C.-AD. 1200) of the American Southwest was conducted to identify the importance of wild animal resources to the subsistence strategy. The Number of Individual Specimens (NISP) was counted (NISP = 16,386) and sorted by taxa and animal size categories to explore differences in the distributions of faunal remains by archaeological recovery strategy, site type, physiographic location, and chronology. The most significant factor in the differential use of animal resources among the VRPs was physiographic location. Desert lowland sites had greater species diversity. Sites in the intermediate St. George Basin had more large mammals such as deer, and sites located on the higher plateau had more small mammals such as lagomorphs. These results indicate that the subsistence strategy varied across diverse environmental conditions, but animal resources were always an integral part of the VRP adaptation until their abandonment of the region in the early 13th century A.D.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-459
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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