Heritage, Volume 10, Number 2, Spring 1992 Page: 18
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BETA 15634 4
- _'~ ~
! , I ! I
LINEATED ROOF SPALL GRAVEL
DENSELY PACKED FIRECRACKED ROCK
-:..I GRAY, ASHY LIMESTONE DUST
l, CHARRED FIBER
.* FIRECRACKED ROCK, ISOLATED
Y/0 ANIMAL BURROW
.... PROJECTED EXCAVATION LIMITS
West wall profile from the 1984 excavations at Baker Cave (41VV213), showing a sequence of stacked cooking pits. Credit, Kenneth M. Brown. Reprinted with
the permission of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas.
some small mammals were also eaten not
only raw, but whole! The presence of complete
bones and fur, neither ofwhich can be
digested by humans, in several coprolites
from different sites, suggest that this was a
Bioarchaeology, or the study of human
skeletal remains, provides further clues
about palaeodiet in the Lower Pecos. Bones
and teeth also provide evidence of abscesses,
bone diseases, past traumas, and periods of
high dietary stress. Teeth come in direct
contact with food and are worn in the
process of chewing. Microscopic analysis of
molars identified wear in the form of polishing,
striations, and compression fractures.
The first two wear patterns were a
product of a diet rich in vegetal fiber. The
third was caused by hard materials such as
nut hulls, bones, or the inevitable grit introduced
from earth ovens and limestone
grinding tools. The high fiber diet was also
responsible for rapid dental attrition. Sugars
from the carbohydrate-based diet provided
the perfect medium for cavities. The mandibular
molars (jaw) were generally lost by
the age of 30, with the maxillary molars
(upper) being lost during the next 10 years.
The anterior teeth, incisors, and canines
were heavily worn. Heavy wear on the
enamel surfaces, often exposing the pulp of
the anterior teeth, was caused by their use
as a third hand, or as a vice, or to strip plant
The most recent analysis of diet in the
Lower Pecos involves the application of a
geochemical technique. This method has
allowed archaeologists to use bone chemistry
in the determination of prehistoric di
18 HERITAGE * SPRING 1992
MA XMUM DEPTH OF
EXCAVATION IN N6
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 10, Number 2, Spring 1992, periodical, Spring 1992; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45420/m1/18/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.