The Changing Role of the Domestic Dog: New Evidence from the American Bottom Region of Illinois

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Recent archaeological investigations in the American Bottom have resulted in the identification of several hundred individual dog remains from Late Woodland (AD 650–900), Terminal Late Woodland (AD 900–1050), and Mississippian (AD 1050–1400) components. Ongoing research, including coprolite and isotopic analyses, as well as traditional osteological and pathological studies, is providing important new insight on the diet, treatment, and changing roles of domestic dogs in prehistoric Native American communities. The data obtained thus far indicate notable shifts in dog roles between the Late Woodland, Terminal Late Woodland, and Mississippian periods. Although dogs served in multiple capacities during all three periods, the strongest evidence for ceremonial use and ritual feasting occurs during the Late Woodland and Mississippian periods. In contrast, dogs were used extensively as transport animals during the Terminal Late Woodland period. With this expanding database, it is now possible to begin addressing more detailed, indepth research questions regarding human-canine relationships in the American Bottom, with broader implications for dog studies across the continent.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAbstracts of the SAA 82nd Annual Meeting 29 March - 2 April, 2017 Vancouver, BC, Canada
StatePublished - 2017


  • ISAS


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