I’ll be posting the Flag Lady story tomorrow…
Some of the preliminary analysis of the animal skull we found beneath two metates at Fort Hood has been done. Our cultural resources program director (aka my big boss) is also our main faunal analyst. He was there when we found the skull, but knew it needed some more cleaning. After a thorough removal of the dirt and full exposure of the bones, it was clearly either a coyote or a dog, based on the comparative samples.
More intriguing is that, after cleaning out between the mandibles, my boss found a number of small mouse/rodent bones!
He then took it to the principal investigator of another company, who is known for faunal analysis and an amazing comparative sample collection. He also happened to have trained my boss. This guy looked at it for a while, thought about it for a day or two, and confirmed that it was in fact a short-faced Indian dog, actually more like a puppy.
As I’ve often said, one of the great and awful things about archaeology is how the answer to one question leads to many more difficult question. For example, it the feature a slab-capped burial? Is it a deadfall trap that happened to snag a pet, or maybe a wild dog? Was the mouse bait? And what sort of analysis of the data that we’ve already acquired, since we can’t go get more, may help answer these questions?