New Open Access Iowa Zooarchaeology Article

Just published in the new STAR: Science and Technology of Archaeological Research:

‘Brewster site zooarchaeology reinterpreted: understanding levels of animal exploitation and bone fat production at the Initial Middle Missouri type site’

By Landon P. Karr

Download at Maney Online


The Brewster site is a Native American village in Northwest Iowa that was likely occupied between AD 1100 and AD 1200. The villagers at the Brewster site hunted large mammals from the landscape surrounding their village, and practiced some of the earliest agriculture in the region. As a result, large numbers of bison bones are preserved archaeologically at the site. ~140 kg of bone, excavated in 1970, has been analyzed and reported in this article. When fractured and fragmented bones are found in the archaeological record, they are often associated with the exploitation of bone marrow and bone grease, two highly nutritious substances. This article reports on the relative importance of the bones and bone fragments at the Brewster site with regard to their use and utility as sources of bone fats. While there is some evidence to suggest that the bones were intentionally fractured and fragmented, the evidence suggests that the Brewster villagers frequently ignored the dietary potential of bone fats.
Data availability The authors confirm that all data underlying the findings are fully available without restriction. All relevant data are contained within the paper.