Alejandro Figueroa Calderon

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Southern Methodist U.

Grant number

Gr. 9292

Approve Date

April 19, 2016

Project Title

Figueroa Calderon, Alejandro J., Southern Methodist U., Dallas, TX - To aid research on 'The Faunal Dimension of Human-Environment Relationships in the Tropical Highlands of Southwestern Honduras,' supervised by Dr. Christopher Roos

Preliminary abstract: Archaeological studies have shown that human populations worldwide diversified their diets and became more sedentary toward the end of the Pleistocene (ca. 15,000-10,000 cal B.P.) as a response to environmental and demographic changes, or because resource-rich landscapes, in some cases modified or improved by human populations, made longer stays more advantageous. In the Americas, knowledge of the Preceramic period (ca. 11,000-5,000 cal B.P.) is limited to the long term relationships between human populations and plant resources, the cornerstone of most neotropical subsistence economies (Aceituno and Loaiza 2014; Piperno and Pearsall 1998). As a consequence, knowledge of human-fauna interactions is nearly nonexistent in this region. The objective of my research is to begin to fill this gap by conducting a comprehensive analysis of a large faunal assemblage obtained from the El Gigante rockshelter, a multi-component site in the highlands of southwestern Honduras. Ongoing research suggests that despite this landscape being unsuitable for large-scale agriculture and sedentism, human populations utilized this area intensively since the Preceramic period, had a varied diet, experimented with artificial selection and perhaps the spread of particular resources, and became more sedentary over time (Figueroa 2015; Scheffler 2008, 2014; Scheffler et al. 2012). My research will use detailed faunal analyses to evaluate the degree to which changes in subsistence patterns at El Gigante were a response to resource availability, environmental change, and human impacts on the landscape. This will establish a baseline of Preceramic lifeways that can be built upon by future research.