Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Anthropology


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Carolyn Freiwald

Second Advisor

Keith Prufer

Third Advisor

Catarina Passidomo


Very little is known about Paleoindian and Archaic subsistence strategies of the people of Mesoamerica prior to the development of ceramics. Rockshelters with good preservation and stratigraphic deposits can provide excellent contexts for a comparative faunal analysis though time. In February of 2014 the Bladen Paleoindian and Archaic Project (BPAP), directed by Dr. Keith Prufer, began excavations at the rockshelter Maya Hak Cab Pek (MHCP). The site has evidence for human activities from the Paleoindian period (11,500 BC to 8,000 BC) through the Preclassic Maya period (2,000 BC to AD 250). This research uses zooarchaeological analysis to investigate animal use in the rockshelter and how it changed from preceramic and to ceramic periods. A change in species diversity that includes more than thirty vertebrate animal species, and 1,651 bones, suggests that the introduction of ceramics altered the use of specific species. Statistical analysis using the chi-squared statistic and the Shannon diversity index suggests that there is a significant difference in species diversity between preceramic and ceramic times at MHCP. The preceramic has a more focused animal use with an emphasis on large mammals, while the ceramic assemblage is more diverse with an emphasis on medium mammals.



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