The signature of starvation: A comparison of bone processing at a Chinese encampment in Montana and the donner party camp in California

Meredith A.B. Ellis, Christopher W. Merritt, Shannon A. Novak, Kelly J. Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Analysis of faunal remains from the historic China Gulch site in western Montana have shed light on behavioral strategies deployed by a marginalized population in a relatively undocumented historical context. China Gulch is a site where Chinese miners set up a temporary shelter after they were ostracized by white miners. Small bone fragments recovered at the site near a hearth suggest that the group underwent nutritional stress. The faunal remains were analyzed for evidence of butchering and processing following methods used to assess the bone recovered at the Donner Party Alder Creek campsite. The China Gulch findings were compared to the processing patterns identified at the Dormer site to further support skeletal evidence for a qualitative signature of starvation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-112
Number of pages16
JournalHistorical archaeology
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology

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