Alejandro Figueroa Calderon
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationSouthern Methodist U.
Grant numberGr. 9292
Approve DateApril 19, 2016
Project TitleFigueroa 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.