By Mark N. Cohen, Gillian M. M. Crane-Kramer
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Additional info for Ancient Health: Skeletal Indicators of Agricultural and Economic Intensification
Intensive exploitation of nuts and acorns appeared in the Archaic and continued into historic times, and maple sap may represent a less visible but important source of energy (Gardner 1997; Munson 1988, 1989). Food-producing economies based on native squash and gourds, sunflowers, and small oily and starchy seeds were established in Archaic times, and small grains (notably chenopod, knotweed, maygrass, and what is called little barley grass) were staple garden crops during the Middle and Late Woodland periods in Illinois (Yarnell 1994: 12).
The closest ethnographic parallels to these sacrifices might be the Pawnee Morning Star sacrifice and the coastal Southeast, although there the victims were not of low social status (Driver 1961). Another possibility is that persons intended for sacrifice were fed a diet high in maize as a sign of honor, as was the case in the Tezcatlipoca sacrifice in Aztec Mexico. Schober has added eighty-seven nitrogen, collagen, and apatite analyses to the data available for the lower Illinois Valley. They show higher variability in maize use in Late Woodland samples than were expected (Schober 1998).
Introduction 9 Because of the difficulty of finding sites specifically focused on the origins of agriculture, we expanded our focus to include any sequence of technological, social and political change, or economic intensification. Predictably, different chapters describe different pieces of prehistory visible in different regions. As Cohen and Armelagos noted, each archaeological site or layer is a snapshot of an ongoing process. And different snapshots are available from different regions. As a result of this and the still-small sample sizes, comparison of specific events between regions are prohibitively difficult.