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Analysis of Prehistoric Coprolites from Utah (University of by Gary F. Fry

By Gary F. Fry

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Extra resources for Analysis of Prehistoric Coprolites from Utah (University of Utah Anthropological Papers : No 97)

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The ethnohistorically reported food plant which comprises the most significant portion of the coprolites in this study is chenopod seed, primarily Allenrolfea occidentalis. This major meal component in Archaic times became less important through time although it was still reported as a food source by the Gosiute Indians. 56 calories per gm. (M. 70 calories per gram) of uncooked whole grain wheat (Taylor and MacLeod 1949, 204). The importance of this plant in prehistoric times is indicated not only by the evidence of the coprolites, but by the fact that the chaff of Allenrolfea was a major part of the deposits in both Danger and Hogup caves.

Anasazi coprolites include 18 taxa of which 9 seeds of Celtis, Gossypium, Cleome, Cryptantha, Ephedra, Oryzopsis, Pinus (along with resin), Polygonum, and Portulaca were not found in Fremont samples. The most important food source for both groups was evidently Cucurbita, followed by Zea, Opuntia, and unidentified seed. The Gramineae represent at least six unidentified taxa. Plants common to both Fremont and Anasazi coprolites include seeds of Amaranthus, chenopods of several varieties, composites, Cucurbita, Gramineae, Lepidium, Zea, Scirpus, and Opuntia tissues.

Each screen sample has a weight for each component including fecal debris which had not broken down. Some components were too light to register a scale weight and are recorded as a trace. Weights are recorded in tenths of milligrams while percentages are rounded to the nearest tenth of one percent. Pollen and Chemical Analyses A section of each coprolite to be sampled for pollen (33 from Hogup Cave and 8 from Danger Cave) was broken open, thus exposing an uncontaminated surface. Approximately 1 cc.

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