Where are the Pens? Ancestral Pueblo Turkey Husbandry and Management on the Pajarito Plateau


Start Date: Jan 28, 2021 - 04:00pm

Location: Presented via Zoom

Cyler Conrad (UNM PhD, 2018; now archaeologist for LANL) will be presenting a lecture on his ongoing research into turkeys for the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center on Thursday, January 28 at 4 pm via Zoom. The lecture is entitled Where are the pens? Ancestral Pueblo turkey husbandry and management on the Pajarito Plateau. Register here


Turkeys, both wild and domestic, were likely exploited, raised and bred during the ancestral Pueblo-era on the Pajarito Plateau. Past studies focused on turkey skeletal elemental abundances; isotopes and ancient DNA suggest that during the Coalition Period, beginning in the A.D. 1100s and after, turkeys represented an important socioeconomic staple for Pueblo peoples. In this talk, Cyler overviews this record and discusses ongoing research focused on reexamining these human-turkey relationships. Intriguingly, the Pajarito Plateau appears to lack a clear record of turkey pens, or anthropogenic features, that would have allowed for controlled breeding and management of turkey folks. A lack of turkey pens combined with new iconographic, osteometric, and stable isotope data indicates that there is a much more complex record of pre-contact turkey husbandry and management occurring on the Plateau than previously recognized.

Bio: Dr. Cyler Conrad is an archaeologist and Tribal Technical Liaison at Los Alamos National Laboratory and an adjunct Assistant Professor of Archaeology at the University of New Mexico. His current research focuses on understanding human-animal relationships in a variety of temporal periods and contexts, including the American Southwest/Mexican Northwest, 19th century California, and Pleistocene-Holocene mainland Southeast Asia. Dr. Conrad has experience working in New Mexico, California, Thailand, and Laos. He is the author or co-author of more than 20 peer-reviewed papers and/or book chapters and has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society, among others.