Illinois Association for Advancement of Archaeology
Featuring Feast Provisioning: Indications of a Tame Deer Herd at Cahokia by Steven L. Boles
From the Introduction
It was during the fall of 2006 during my first semester in Anthropology graduate school at Southern Illinois University Carbondale that I read about a feasting event that took place at the Mississippian period (A.D. 1050-1400) Cahokia site during the founding Lohmann phase (A.D. 1050-1100; see Pauketat et al. 2002). I was intrigued on multiple levels by the data from Cahokia’s sub-Mound 51 deposits.
Broadly speaking, evidence of large-scale feasting has the potential to yield insights into a wide range of cultural aspects (Dieter and Hayden 2001) but more intriguing and specific to the sub-Mound 51 deposits, was the staggering estimates of thousands of provisioned white-tailed deer. Having bow-hunted white-tailed deer for over a decade at that point, I was immediately skeptical of the notion that hunting alone provided the deer for this feast and felt an alternative means for provisioning offered a more plausible scenario. The alternative provisioning method involved the development of a tame deer herd; a notion explored herein.
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Illinois Association for Advancement of Archaeology, 2019