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Archaeological Investigations Provide Late Holocene Baseline Ecological Data for Bocas del Toro, Panama

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Abstract:

Recent archaeological investigations at Sitio Drago, Bocas del Toro, Panama, have provided copious amounts of well-preserved shell and bone. In terms of animal remains, marine resources dominate the archaeological record in Bocas del Toro. This is not surprising given the diversity of marine habitats available to the region's pre-Columbian inhabitants. The high marine biodiversity of the region provides a wide variety of potential food sources for humans. Animal remains recovered from archaeological sites in the region represent subfossil baseline Late Holocene ecological samples that provide an opportunity to examine past human subsistence behavior in a coastal environment dominated by bays, coral reefs, and extensive mangrove stands. We examine marine mollusc and vertebrate remains from the archaeological locality of Sitio Drago and illustrate evidence of potential pre-Columbian human impacts on the local environment. The data we present shed light on past human food preferences, resource focus, and predation effects over a 700-yr occupation. We highlight the utility of archaeological faunal remains for providing baseline ecological data for comparison with modern samples.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5343/bms.2012.1066

Publication date: October 1, 2013

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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