Masters Thesis

Culturally Modified Bone vs. Culturally Unmodified Bone; C̓íc̓a C̓íti Ho-Wéla T̓ól of the Mishewal-Wappo and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation

"Purpose of the Study: This thesis aims to identify, interpret, and analyze culturally unmodified bones, and to advocate for new approaches to faunal remains analysis in archaeology and related fields. Culturally unmodified modified bones, I argue, are bones that were used culturally and not modified. In addition, this thesis aims to contribute to the current cultural revitalization efforts of the Mishewal-Wappo. For the scope of this thesis, the avian carpusmetacarpus, a possible hair ornament, is the primary focus of the analysis." "Procedure: The faunal assemblage I used for this thesis came from CA-NAP-928, a prehistoric, ethnohistoric, and historic site in Napa, California. This site was continuously occupied at different times by the Mishewal-Wappo and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. In order to identify the culturally unmodified bones, it was necessary to evaluate and become familiar with the culturally modified bones and food remains in the collection. This consisted of identifying patterns and characteristics that are separate from food remains and similar to the culturally modified bones. I analyzed the food remains, through a system I developed, based on their level of completeness in order to identify the culturally unmodified bones." "Findings: The ratio of complete culturally modified bones and fragmentary culturally modified bones is remarkably similar to the ratio of completed culturally unmodified bones versus fragmentary culturally unmodified bones. This pattern suggests that cultural bones, in general, are represented evenly. Carpals, phalanges, carpusmetacarpus, coracoids, digits, talons were found in higher complete conditions in comparison to the culturally modified bones and food remains distribution, so it is likely that these six elements were used as culturally unmodified bones. Through the successful demonstration of the possible existence of culturally unmodified bones at CA-NAP-928, the Mishewal-Wappo will be able to use the culturally unmodified bones I identified through archaeological research to support their presence in Native American sites." "Conclusions: Cultural resources managers and academia should work together to recognize and standardize the analysis of culturally unmodified bones as material culture in North America, with the proper consultation and guidance from the appropriate tribe(s). Other lines of evidence that are not traditionally used in archaeology such as oral histories, archival research, may help further the understanding of culturally unmodified bones in future projects."

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