Elizabeth Veatch

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Emory U.

Grant number

Gr. 9634

Approve Date

April 13, 2018

Project Title

Veatch, Elizabeth G., Emory U., Atlanta, GA - To aid research on 'Interpreting hominin Subsistence Strategies from Small Mammal Remains at Liang Bua, Flores, Indonesia,' supervised by Dr. Jessica Thompson

Preliminary abstract: Modern humans are associated with large brains, complex technologies, and high-fidelity social cooperation. A focal issue in archaeology has been understanding how the emergence and evolution of these attributes may be explicable by changes in dietary and foraging behaviors. Although past and current research on the evolution of these behaviors mostly centers on the acquisition of large animals, relatively few studies have considered the potential role of small prey as an important dietary component. Paradoxically, small mammal acquisition is typically associated with technological complexity (i.e., snares and nets) yet these animals are simultaneously considered ‘easy’ targets for early hominins that obviate the need for complex tools. Reasons for this contradiction probably lie within the ecological and behavioral diversity of small mammals, which demands a broad range of foraging strategies. Using the abundant small mammal assemblage at Liang Bua (Flores, Indonesia), this project will establish how these animal remains were incorporated into the subsistence strategies of Homo floresiensis (~190-50 ka) and modern humans (hunter-gatherers ~46-3 ka and agriculturalists ~3 ka to present). This research project centers on taphonomic analyses of the fossils to identify what animals were accumulated in the bone assemblage at Liang Bua and what agents (e.g., predators) were responsible. This project also includes stable isotope analyses to elucidate the diet and habitat preferences of the small mammals at Liang Bua through time as well as the study of small mammal remains in the area. This project will be completed through laboratory work at the National Research Center for Archaeology in Jakarta, and Emory University in Atlanta, GA.