Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Walter E. Klippel

Committee Members

Charles H. Faulkner, Paul W. Parmalee, Hazel R. Delcourt


Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were widely utilized resources in North America during prehistoric and protohistoric times. The two species overlap in geographic space over a large portion of the Plains; yet mule deer and white-tailed deer utilize different habitats within that region. Identification of the two species from archaeological context could aid in interpreting human ecological use of an area by past cultures. Prior to this study, there have been no reliable means by which to differentiate between the two species through use of postcranial skeletal material. Techniques for differentiating between mule deer and white-tailed deer based on morphological and metrical characteristics are presented. Deer remains from the Scott County Pueblo Site (14SC1) are re-analyzed using these techniques. The Scott County Pueblo Site is a mid 1600s to early 1700s protohistoric site in western Kansas. A shift in procurement from primarily mule deer to exclusively white-tailed deer is noted at the site. Differences in hunting strategies and/or the environment during Puebloan and post-Puebloan Dismal River occupations are possible explanations for this change.

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