The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Cultural Resources Management Archaeology: M.S.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Mark Muñiz

Second Advisor

Robbie Mann

Third Advisor

Brian Smith

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

faunal, Late Prehistoric, Archaic, San Diego County, artiodactyl, lagomorph


Site CA-SDI-11,521 is a pre-contact occupation site located in San Diego County, California. Archaeological excavations from 1990-1991 resulted in the recovery of a wide range of cultural material including chipped stone and ground stone artifacts, ceramic fragments, marine shell, shell beads, bone tool fragments, thermally altered stone, and 49,860 fragments (4,842.70 grams) of faunal remains. A single radiocarbon date (6,414 +/- 32 14C B.P.) and associated artifacts classify the site as a prime example of a long term habitation site spanning from the Archaic Period to the Late Prehistoric Period.

This thesis investigates the proportions of different animal classes that were utilized by the inhabitants of CA-SDI-11,521. All faunal remains recovered from the site were processed and placed into taxonomic class categories including bird, fish, mammal, snake, and turtle. The mammal remains were then placed into size classes of micro, small, medium, and large mammal. In order to ensure that the sample was chosen from the units with the most stratigraphic integrity, detailed analysis of only those test units exhibiting a clear stratigraphic break between the Archaic and Late Prehistoric periods was conducted. Each fragment of sampled bone was identified to the lowest possible taxonomic category. Those elements belonging to small or large mammals, including Odocoileus hemionus (mule deer), Lynx rufus (bobcat), Mustela frenata (long-tailed weasel), Neotoma sp. (packrat), Thomomys bottae (Botta’s pocket gopher), Otospermophilus beecheyi (ground squirrel), Sylvilagus audubonii (desert cottontail), Sylvilagus bachmani (western bush rabbit), and Lepus californicus (black-tailed jack rabbit), were also identified to element, side, portion, and age, with a further taphonomic analysis of breakage pattern, weathering stage, heating stage, and modification.

The evidence shows that small mammals, primarily rabbits and hares, were the most commonly utilized animal class at Site CA-SDI-11,521 and that nearly all small, medium, and large mammals utilized at the site were subjected to marrow extraction and/or grease rendering processes. In addition, it was also revealed through statistical analysis of the leporid (rabbit and hare) and artiodactyl (deer) remains that the capture of leporids increased over time by 1,250.00 percent while the procurement of Artiodactyls increased by 200 percent. It was revealed through chi-square analyses comparing the number of identifiable specimens (NISP) from the Archaic and Late Prehistoric components that the increases in artiodactyl and leporid remains over time were not statistically significant.

In order to determine whether or not CA-SDI-11521 is consistent with expectations for the transition in subsistence patterns from the Archaic to the Late Prehistoric, the data was compared to that of nearby site CA-SDI-4608c, where radiocarbon dates place site occupation from the Archaic Period (5,370 ± 70 14C B.P.) into the Late Prehistoric Period (370 ± 60 14C B.P.). While the capture of Leporids at CA-SDI-4608c increased at a rate of 189.15 percent from the Archaic to Late Prehistoric, the procurement of artiodactyls increased by a rate of 1700.00 percent. It was revealed through chi-square analyses of the NISP from the Archaic and Late Prehistoric components that the changes over time in taxa frequency were highly significant.

Additional analysis comparing artiodactyl indices from the Archaic and Late Prehistoric samples from CA-SDI-11,521 and CA-SDI-4608c indicated that both sites saw an increase in the proportion of artiodactyl to lagomorph remains during the Late Prehistoric period after varying greatly during the Archaic. The variances seen in the Archaic period, however, are assumed to have been a result of a smaller sample size than that which was available for the Late Prehistoric period. Statistical comparison of the artiodactyl indices from each unit level from CA-SDI-11,521 and CA-SDI-4608c indicated that the difference in proportions between artiodactyls and leporids over time is not significant (unequal variance t = 1.2902, p = 0.23232; Welch F = 1.665, df = 8, p = 0.2323) and therefore the two sites do appear to follow a similar pattern of faunal resource acquisition during and after the transition to the Late Prehistoric.



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