Date of Award

5-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Anthropology

Major Professor

Walter E. Klippel

Committee Members

Kandace R. Hollenbach, Jan F. Simek

Abstract

Faunal remains are typically interpreted with a focus on utilitarian activity. However, animals were used for a variety of purposes, with some species having special cultural associations. This thesis explores the potential for a faunal assemblage to enhance the belief that Griffin Rockshelter (40FR151), a relatively small sandstone rockshelter, was a space where ritual activity occurred.

This project makes use of a comprehensive analysis of the archaeofauna recovered from Griffin, with data from previous analyses of the lithics and pottery, along with the petroglyphs that cover the shelter’s back wall. To further demonstrate the uniqueness of the material, the faunal assemblage is compared with five other sites on the Cumberland Plateau. The potential for ritual activity is contextualized with a discussion about the difficulties of interpreting ritual activity archaeologically.

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