Sponsored by: Spokane Society
“Prehispanic Turkey Domestication, Husbandry, and Management in the North American Southwest”
Presented by Dr. Cyler Conrad
Turkeys played a significant role in prehispanic Ancestral Puebloan life in the North American Southwest. Used for a variety of socio-economic purposes, including for feathers, meat, eggs, creation of bone tools and as an iconographic figure, turkey remains appear in abundance throughout archaeological sites spanning a 1,000-year period between approximately 600-1600 A.D./C.E. In this talk I use information from animal bones at archaeological sites, and studies of ancient turkey DNA and stable isotopes (as a proxy for turkey diets) to identify long-term trends in the domestication, husbandry, and management of these birds (Meleagris gallopavo) throughout the recent past. I use case study examples from the northern Rio Grande to illustrate the diversity and complexity of human-turkey interaction in the Pueblo world, and what this means for human-turkey interaction today.