Peter W. Stahl

Peter W. Stahl
University of Victoria | UVIC · Department of Anthropology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

100
Publications
23,941
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Introduction
Peter W. Stahl is currently Adjunct Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Victoria, and Emeritus Professor in the Department of Anthropology, Binghamton University. Most of his research was undertaken in South America, and specifically Ecuador. Peter's most recent publications include Historical Ecology and Archaeology in the Galápagos Islands (U of Florida 2020), and Las Vegas: The Early Holocene Archaeology of Human Occupation in Coastal Ecuador (U of Pittsburgh 2020).
Additional affiliations
July 2011 - March 2016
University of Victoria
Position
  • Professor
September 1988 - July 2011
Binghamton University
Position
  • Professor Emeritus
May 1985 - July 1988
University College London
Position
  • Research Associate
Education
August 1978 - January 1984

Publications

Publications (100)
Article
Full-text available
The llama (Lama glama) and the alpaca (Vicugna pacos) are important domesticated species, endemic to South America. South American camelids helped ensure the success of humans in the Andes, much like the horse in Europe. Two wild South American camelids, the guanaco and the vicuña have been proposed as the ancestors of these domestic forms. Some sc...
Chapter
Although the domestic dog ( Canis lupus familiaris ) is today ubiquitous throughout most of South America, it may have been a relatively late arrival in Amazonia. A dog’s comparative value to contemporary indigenous people in the tropical lowlands of Northeastern South America relates directly to its role in hunting; otherwise, it can be regarded w...
Article
Full-text available
No other animal has a closer mutualistic relationship with humans than the dog (Canis familiaris). Domesticated from the Eurasian grey wolf (Canis lupus), dogs have evolved alongside humans over millennia in a relationship that has transformed dogs and the environments in which humans and dogs have co-inhabited. The story of the dog is the story of...
Chapter
This chapter describes archaeological investigations of the historic Hacienda El Progreso. Excavation areas, phytolith sampling columns, and preserved infrastructure from the hacienda’s buildings and sugar mill are described and contextualized. Zooarchaeological and archaeobotanical identifications and analyses are described as they pertain to agri...
Chapter
This chapter describes the historic Hacienda El Progreso and its evolution into an industrial-scale sugar plantation and extensive cattle ranch, particularly after its founding visionary, Manuel J. Cobos, returned to San Cristóbal Island in 1879. The island’s climate, vegetation, and contemporary human population are introduced with particular atte...
Chapter
This chapter summarizes major events that occurred throughout an almost 500-year relationship between humans and Galápagos. Specific attention focuses on how the changing interests of humans in the islands contributed to ecosystemic landscape transformation up to the end of the Second World War. The chapter historically contextualizes the nature of...
Chapter
This chapter presents the material culture recovered from Hacienda El Progreso midden contexts within the broader perspective of Latin America’s participation in the global market during the later nineteenth century. Two distinct aspects of the imported manufactured goods are suggested: (1) consumption to project a modern image; and (2) technologie...
Book
Historical Ecology and Archaeology in the Galápagos Islands explores human history in the Galápagos Islands, which is today one of the world’s premier nature attractions. From its early beginnings, the Galápagos National Park connected a dual vision of biological conservation with responsible tourism. However, despite its popular perception as a pr...
Chapter
This chapter summarizes the human history of Galápagos and its legacy in the contemporary context of a protected natural area and popular destination for conservation tourism. The recent history of contemporary human residents of the island is examined from Cobos’s death in 1904 through the growth of conservation and ecotourism after the Second Wor...
Article
Although historical ecology has become a highly popular framework for contemporary archaeological research, archaeologists have always, in some form or another, been engaged with its study. Historical ecology and archaeology are inseparable; the techniques and methods of the latter are essential for accessing the deep time of human-environmental re...
Chapter
Despite various problems associated with the practice of zooarchaeology in the neotropics, archaeologists have recovered impressive evidence from caves and open air sites for early landscape management and food production in northwestern South America, a region renowned for harbouring elevated species richness and high rates of endemism. The trajec...
Article
Full-text available
Knowing whether a species has been extirpated, or if it ever inhabited a specific geographic area, has direct importance for planning conservation activities. The taruka ( Hippocamelus antisensis ) is one of the largest Neotropical mammals; it is distributed in the central Andes, and there are published records of this species in Ecuador. Recently,...
Article
The reemergence of cognitive studies in comparative psychology and ethology, coupled with ongoing archaeological discoveries and recent advances in genomics, have contributed to the current explosion of scientific interest in dogs (Canis lupus familiaris). The long and complex evolution of a human-dog relationship is explored from the differing per...
Article
Despite evidence for the protracted presence of humans in the Amazon Basin, its vast interfluvial habitats are frequently depicted as having survived until recently as ‘wild’ landscapes with neither human settlement nor substantial human land use. Related research interests of paleoecology and archaeology share parallel histories in the development...
Article
Although common and widespread today throughout the neotropical lowlands, the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) may have been a relatively recent introduction into certain areas. Numerous early documents, however, implicate the precolumbian presence of tamed endemic South American canids, at least in lowland areas of northern South America and...
Article
Humans inhabiting South America during early portions of the Holocene variably interacted with native foxes (Family Canidae) in different parts of the continent at a time when there is little firm evidence for the presence of domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris). Preserved specimens of native fox tend to be ubiquitous in early archaeological contex...
Article
Full-text available
The dog was the first domesticated animal but it remains uncertain when the domestication process began and whether it occurred just once or multiple times across the Northern Hemisphere. To ascertain the value of modern genetic data to elucidate the origins of dog domestication, we analyzed 49,024 autosomal SNPs in 1,375 dogs (representing 35 bree...
Article
Archaeobiological data are used to explore the agricultural basis of the Jama-Coaque II archaeological culture that inhabited the western coastal lowlands of Ecuador between approximately AD 400 and AD 1430. Analyses of archaeobotanical and archaeofaunal assemblages recovered from 14 archaeological sites throughout the valley implicate an extensive...
Article
A number of factors that coalesced in the Venus figurines of the Late Neolithic culture from Hungary have been identified with dominant hallucinatory themes, suggesting the crucial role of ecstatic religion in this culture. This article provides a review of the nature and role of hallucinogens in the ecstatic religion of contemporary and historical...
Chapter
IntroductionZooarchaeological Methods Zooarchaeological Interpretation of Past LandscapesAn Archaeological Example: Archaeofaunal Accumulation in Western EquadorSummary and DiscussionReferences
Article
Reliable and valid archaeological inferences about earlier human subsistence and ecology are based on an understanding of the relationship between the recovered sample of identified bone specimens and the originally deposited assemblage. During analysis, we seek evidence from the preserved sample and its associated archaeological contexts to aid ou...
Book
An important baseline study of ceramics and material culture in southern Ecuador, which establishes the region's artistic and trade connections with better-known areas of the prehistoric Andes.
Article
Full-text available
The arrival of Europeans in the Western Hemisphere (ca. AD 1500) is generally used as a convenient reference point for signaling the early appearance of invasive faunas. Although use of this date embraces an implicit belief in benign landscape management by pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Americas, substantial evidence for the anthropogenic moveme...
Article
The collection of 6,060 archaeofaunal specimens recovered from Challuabamba between 1995 and 2000 is one of the largest recorded zooarchaeological assemblages from the highlands of southern Ecuador and extreme northern Peru. This is an area in which only a handful of early sites have yielded comparable data (Figure 1.1). These include mention of ar...
Article
Full-text available
Zooarchaeology can contribute to issues that lie beyond the traditional boundaries of archaeology and paleobiology. The techniques and methods of zooarchaeology are essential to an historical ecology that has emerged as a powerful perspective for understanding indigenous peoples and landscapes of the neotropics, both in the present and the past. In...
Chapter
The dog (Canis familiaris) was already domesticated when early humans entered the western hemisphere. Over the ensuing millennia Native Americans domesticated comparatively few indigenous animals, in contrast to the many animals that were genetically and behaviorally modified from their wild ancestors through captive controlled breeding in the Old...
Article
Full-text available
San Jacinto 1 represents a special-purpose settlement that was used by late Archaic foraging groups who logistically moved from base camps to special-purpose camps in order to collect and process subsistence resources at the onset of the dry season in the Caribbean savannas of northern Colombia. Situated in an optimal location for permanent water a...
Article
The archaeological record of the large lowland neotropical Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata, one of the few native animals known to have been domesticated by pre-Columbian peoples, is poorly known. Only a few specimens have been recovered in different cultural, temporal and depositional contexts from throughout the neotropics, and differentiating betw...
Article
Analysis of a large animal bone assemblage from the Formative archaeological site of Challuabamba in Ecuador's southern highlands provides additional evidence for the existence of local and extra-local trade connections during the second millennium B.C. Previous archaeological research has established that Formative occupants of this highland regio...
Article
Full-text available
The muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) (Aves: Anatidae) is the most enigmatic of the native New World animal domesticates. Although large and conspicuous, this duck is nonetheless rarely recovered in archaeological context. When identified, its domesticated status remains uncertain for lack of distinguishing criteria used to separate male from female...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence of unexpected complexity in an ancient community in Uruguay is a further blow to the conventional view of prehistoric development in marginal areas of lowland South America.
Article
An experiment designed to assess the effect of post-burial compaction on microvertebrate skeletons was achieved by compacting an owl pellet assemblage and a simulated natural death assemblage under increasing pressure in sediments of differing grain size. Observations of the compacted assemblages suggest that the distinct signatures associated with...
Article
In the eighteenth to nineteenth century West Africa was the scene of the infamous Atlantic trade in ivory and slaves. The authors' researches show a different situation in the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries, when the people of Ghana were engaged in the indigenous procurement, manufacture and trade in ivory with neighbours across the Sahara.
Article
Full-text available
▪ Abstract Any understanding of contemporary biodiversity change in the Americas is likely to be uninformative and misleading if it employs a prehistoric baseline imbued with pristine characteristics. Archaeological evidence clearly displays a protracted history of environmental transformations at varying geographical and temporal scales throughout...
Article
Full-text available
Native South American animal domesticates appear in the northern Andes well before the area was occupied by the Incan and, later, Spanish empires. They include camelids and cuy (guinea pig), both of which are allochthonous to the northern Andes, and muscovy duck. Throughout Ecuador, pertinent skeletal specimens at various sites in contexts antedati...
Article
The largest vertebrate zooarchaeological assemblage yet recorded in the northern Andean highlands-almost 40,000 specimens-was recovered during excavations at the La Chimba site, Pichincha Province, Ecuador. This 700 B.C. to A.C. 250 assemblage is rich in specimens from animal taxa characteristic of high elevation páramo grassland environments, and...
Article
This study examines archaeofaunal materials contained within a large bell-shaped prehistoric pit from the site of Pechichal (M3B4-011) in northern Manabi Province of lowland western Ecuador. This feature provides a high resolution archaeological context for understanding assemblage accumulation and deposition, and provides important data for inferr...
Article
This paper presents a standardized series of replicable and comparable density assays, based on the technique of photon densitometry (or absorptiometry), for two native South American camelid taxa, the domesticated llama (Lama glama) and alpaca (L. pacos). Two sets of volume density (VD) measures (in g/cm3) are provided: (1) “shape-adjusted” volume...
Article
Structural density assays of standardized bone scan sites are provided from six skeletons of four leporid taxa, including European or domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), Eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus), snowshoe hare (Lepus canadensis) and black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus). The results are discussed via comparison to publ...
Article
The analysis of microvertebrate remains recovered from buried contexts is frequently problematic for archaeologists. Diminutive size is a major obstacle to recovering, identifying, and interpreting microfaunal bone materials successfully. Their taphonomic history is often obscure, thus the significance of microvertebrate accumulations for settlemen...
Article
This study describes the results of an experiment involving the consumption of a skinned, eviscerated, and segmented insectivore by an adult human male. Bone remains from recovered faecal contents are examined for skeletal element representation, breakage and digestive damage. Detailed examination of each category suggests severe skeletal attrition...
Article
The Valdivia valley of southwestern Ecuador is currently an ecotonal area between both northerly and interior humid environments, and southerly and coastal arid environments. Inferences drawn from a sample of archaeologically recovered vertebrate taxa in Early Formative context (3000 BC to 2400 BC) at the site of Loma Alta (OGSEMa‐182), suggest the...
Article
Ethnographic observations of floor formation in an occupied and an abandoned Achuar jea dwelling structure are combined with contemporary taphonomic studies of swept and trampled surfaces. These studies suggest that refuse accumulation and incorporation are markedly different in food-preparation areas with ash deposits around fixed hearth features...
Article
This paper reviews the archaeological evidence for camelid remains in the highland and western lowland areas of Ecuador. Two later prehistoric contexts from the western lowlands are discussed, as is the implication of ancient far-reaching highland and coast-wise trade networks for the introduction of camelids into the area. Early Spanish documents...
Article
Two prehispanic South American animal domesticates, the cavy Cavia porcellus and muscovy duck Cairina moschata, are identified from the later prehistoric occupations of Salango, Manabi province, Ecuador. Possible implications, raised by their presence in an area that is known to have participated in an ancient and widespread trade network, are brie...
Article
Full-text available
Hallucination is associated with a set of universal and redundant sensory phenomena which often include the appearance of anthropomorphic images. These are especially apparent through drug intoxication, a technique used by native shamans of tropical lowland South America to achieve ecstatic communion with spirits. The paper presents evidence for th...
Article
Analysis of the dissected remains of certain small mammals suggests a consistently high ratio of edible meat to live weight. These figures, together with the great abundance of small mammals in natural and culturally modified settings, are combined to support the argument that they may have been important elements in prehistoric diet. Their dietary...
Article
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Calgary, 1978. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 146-162). Microfiche of typescript.
Article
Dissection of certain animal specimens indicated that meat poundage figures based on modern processing practices could be unreliably high.

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