The Curious Case of the White-Tailed Deer: An Analysis of Deer Use in the Ceremonial Center of Teotihuacan



Aguayo, Esther

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This thesis investigates the pattern of deer bones present at the Plaza of the Columns Complex in the ceremonial center of the ancient metropolis, Teotihuacan. As a large urban center, with a population of around 100,000 people at its height, Teotihuacan had to have a complex food system in order to feed its population. Interestingly, the largest mammal available in the New World, the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), is a rare animal in Teotihuacan’s faunal assemblage. This research, which involves the study of deer remains, indicated that deer were not a necessary resource in the everyday life of Teotihuacanos. Instead, deer exploitation was elevated into highly specific ritual contexts, such as offerings and consumed by elite groups that partook in such occasions.



Mesoamerica, Deer, Archaeology, White-tailed deer, Teotihuacan, Zooarchaeology