OTHER ARCHAEOLOGY LECTURES OF INTEREST 2018-2019
Tuesday, January 15th, 2019
University of Denver
2000 E Asbury Ave, Denver, CO 80210
The building is located just off High Street on Asbury Ave. There is parking available directly adjacent to the building on the west side. Most street parking around the area is time-limited, so please be aware of where you are parking for the meeting.
Dr. Meredith A. Wismer
Good Things in Small Packages? Investigating Pocket Gophers as Food at the
Archaeologists often exclude the remains of burrowing rodents when reconstructing the diets of ancient people, as frequently these creatures intrude into a site long after it was formed. A surprising number and spatial concentration of pocket gopher specimens from the Rainbow Site (13PM91) in northwestern Iowa suggests that people
accumulated a large quantity of pocket gophers for use during the Early Late Woodland period (AD 550-620). Individually, pocket gophers may have had little to offer nutritionally; however, collectively their predictable habits, visibility on the landscape, and fat content may have made them a valuable supplement during lean winter months. This talk examines the possibility of pocket gophers as a “survival” food for Rainbow’s prehistoric inhabitants and explores how they may have been obtained and processed. Importantly, most methods for cooking and consuming pocket gophers leave little evidence behind for archaeologists to find, perhaps leading us to underestimate their use as food by ancient people.
Dr. Meredith A. Wismer is a zooarchaeologist and instructor of anthropology at Aims Community College in Greeley, Colorado. She was recently awarded a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Iowa, where her dissertation research focused on animal use during the transition to horticulture within the tallgrass prairie region. She has worked on archaeological projects in Arizona, Alaska, France, Romania, and Colorado.