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

ALEJANDRO FIGUEROA, then a graduate student at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, received funding in April 2016 to aid reserch on ‘The Faunal Dimension of Human-Environment Relationships in the Tropical Highlands of Southwestern Honduras,’ supervised by Dr. Christopher Roos. This research evaluated how Mesoamerican foraging societies interacted with their surroundings during the Preceramic period (ca. 11000-7400 cal B.P.) by examining the largest collection of animal bones dated to this time recovered from the El Gigante rockshelter in Honduras. This period was characterized by major climatic and ecological changes following the end of the last ice age, and culminated with a transformed landscape, sedentism, agriculture, and domestication. Analyses of these animal bones show foragers began intensively using the shelter and its landscape long before environmental deterioration and demographic pressures affected this area as a result of a changing global climate. This is likely because this landscape remained stable and productive during most of this time. However, despite the important role animals played in the diet of these inhabitants, it seems people returned to this area for its abundant plant resources. This created landscapes of abundance that were inherited by future populations, and affected both human and non-human populations in many ways. Changes in mobility and subsistence were thus purposeful and highly successful strategies that relied on accumulated traditional ecological knowledge of particular environments and resources, and shaped broader economic and social behaviors over time in Mesoamerica and beyond.