Human Processing of Rodents in Patagonia: The Relevance of Historical and Ethnographical Data for Archaeological Interpretations
Received Date: January 17, 2019; Published Date: February 05, 2019
The consumption of small mammals was a widespread practice between indigenous societies worldwide. Modern taphonomic studies carried out upon bone assemblages from archaeological sites in northern Patagonia (Argentina) demonstrate that Caviomorph rodents were also included in the diet of Patagonian populations, both from the steppe and the forests, at least since the Late Holocene. The revision of historical and ethnographical documents written by priests, naturalists and ethnographers during c. XVI-XX allow to corroborate that rodents were intensively exploited in Patagonia, continental and insular. Bones, meat and skin of the animals were employed for diverse purposes, and the gathering activity was guided by women and children.
Keywords: Human rodent consumption; Intensive exploitation; Small mammals; Patagonia; Ethnography; Zooarchaeology; Culture and ideology.