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Archaeological Pets: A Pathological Examination of the Human-Dog Relationship in the American Southwest

Laurich, Megan (2021) Archaeological Pets: A Pathological Examination of the Human-Dog Relationship in the American Southwest. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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Dogs have been human companions for at least 15,000 years (Morey 2010:69-70). How this relationship has been and is now defined; however, varies culturally and temporally. This research explores the complexity of our relationship with dogs in an intermediate space between ritually significant and working animals, with specific focus to the impact humans may have had on dog health. Using faunal collections from the Museum of Northern Arizona, I evaluate healed cranial fractures and worn dentition from domesticated dogs. Methodologically, previous researchers lacked formal systems for documenting these pathologies (Clark 1997; Grant 1982). Innovative data collection methods, such as comprehensive tooth wear and healed cranial lesion measurement systems, expand interpretations concerning the diverse interaction’s humans have had with animals. For this thesis, Middle-Range Theory structures the methodological approach, while a Decolonizing framework supports data interpretation.Not only does this research provides a new perspective on archaeological investigations of human-dog relationships, but it also explores an applied perspective concerning the dynamics between dogs and their owners today. Equally, the research herein challenges narratives of animal abuse from archaeologists and the public alike when considering Native American communities. Given the application of a decolonized interpretation in zooarchaeological research is rare, this research encourages the field to question assumptions about past interactions with animals based upon colonial and prejudiced ideologies. Furthermore, I argue for a strengthened understanding of the human-animal relationship, challenging the suggestion only Westernized cultures can keep pets.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: American Southwest; Ancestral Pueblo; Decolonizing Theory; Dogs ; Pathology; Zooarchaeology; Human-dog relatinships
Subjects: S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Social and Behavioral Science > Anthropology
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2022 17:27
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2022 17:27
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5783

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