Large mammal utilization and subsistence stress in Late Prehistoric South Texas
This thesis presents the results of my analysis of the animal remains from site 41SP220, a Late Prehistoric Toyah campsite in South Texas. Bioarchaeological and ethnohistoric evidence suggests that Toyah groups, like many other hunter-gatherers, were subject to periodic instances of subsistence-related stress. One of the most common cross-cultural responses to subsistence stress is the broadening of dietary patterns to include a greater number of marginal resources. In this study, my primary research question is whether the inhabitants of site 41SP220 were exploiting certain marginal bone fat resources (i.e., bone grease deposits) that are usually an indication of stressful conditions.
Two aspects of large mammal utilization, carcass transport and bone processing, are examined to determine the extent to which decisions by the site's inhabitants were directed toward the procurement of bone grease. The results show that while both bison and deer bones from the site were processed for marrow extraction, they were not crushed for the production of bone grease. These results suggest that the inhabitants of site 41SP220 either did not experience a level of stress severe enough to warrant marginal bone fat exploitation or that alternative stress-coping mechanisms were employed at the site.