The status of chicken as a prehistoric dietary component, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Polynesia

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  • The status of chicken as a prehistoric dietary component, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Polynesia

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Title


The status of chicken as a prehistoric dietary component, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Polynesia

Subject

S4-1, Contributions of archaeozoology to the study of human societies in South, Southeast, and East Asia from the Paleolithic to the premodern era, oral

Description

Abstract:

The domesticated chicken (Gallus gallus) has a broad distribution throughout the world as an important food item. In few places, however, did the chicken have the pre-modern significance that it had on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Polynesia. Several factors influencing this are examined here, and the dietary status of chicken in the subsistence mix for the island is considered in light of faunal remains, including those of rats, fish, and other marine life. As well, detailed analysis of constituent skeletal parts from a sample range of archaeological sites offers ideas about how chickens were processed as a food item. The non-chicken bird fauna is reviewed, not only because of its significance for documenting extirpated species, but also because a significant aspect of the use of the avian fauna on the island was the extraction of limb bones as raw material for manufacturing a variety of tools, especially needles and awls. The problem of obtaining well-dated, representative samples of faunal material for the island represents a limitation for assessing long term change, however, there is support for the hypothesis that reliance on chicken increased in the later prehistoric and early historic periods on Rapa Nui.

Authors:

AYRES William

Affiliations

University of Oregon, 1218 Department of Anthropology, Eugene, OR 97403 USA, wsayres@uoregon.edu

Creator

Ayres, William

Date

August 2010

Contribution Form

Document Item Type Metadata

Citation

Ayres, William. " The status of chicken as a prehistoric dietary component, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Polynesia ," in BoneCommons, Item #946, http://alexandriaarchive.org/bonecommons/items/show/946 (accessed August 7, 2020).